The average family would save $513 in just three months
On May 5th, Environment America and the Sierra Club released a joint report, Summer Gas Prices: Beating the Heat with Clean Cars, that evaluates the impact of higher federal fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. CAP’s Valeri Vasquez and Junayd Mahmood have the story
The timing of the study couldn’t be more appropriate; on the brink of vacation season, gas prices are reaching new highs every day. Meanwhile, the average U.S. passenger car only gets a disappointing 23 miles per gallon.
The study is aimed at influencing the latest round of fuel efficiency standards for 2017-2025. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency are considering raising corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards to between 47 and 62 miles per gallon for 2025. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, automakers are already fully capable of achieving 60mpg using existing technologies and polls show overwhelming public support for the higher standard.
Researchers used gas prices from April 25th and historical driving patterns to estimate the impact of a 60 mpg standard on summer gasoline savings. The report found that Americans would save an estimated $67 billion and use 17 billion fewer barrels of oil during this year’s three peak summer driving months of June, July, and August if the standard were enacted today. The study finds:
The average American family would save $513 in just three months.
The benefits of 62 mpg standards would be significant for Americans’ health as well as the economy. The environment would benefit, too. The standards would save a projected $370 billion by 2025 and spur further investment in the booming clean tech sector. The billions that Americans send to overseas oil suppliers would instead fund a resurgence of clean, green manufacturing jobs. From a purely economic perspective, Americans will save far more than the implementation of these new standards will cost. According to Citi Investment Research, higher fuel economy standards will also lift Detroit automakers’ profits.
The day the report was released, Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America, explained on a press call that a 62 mpg standard would eliminate 160 million metric tons of CO2″”equal to the amount currently produced by all the coal plants in Pennsylvania””and would help realize President Obama’s recent pledge to cut imported oil by a third by 2025.
The Obama administration has already been successful in pushing auto manufacturers to meet the first increase in fuel economy standards in more than 30 years in addition to issuing the first carbon pollution standards for cars. But now it’s time to take this triumph a step further. Higher fuel efficiency is a win all around – for American drivers, public health, the economy, and future generations. The Obama administration should issue strong fuel efficiency standards so Americans can begin reaping the benefits they are sure to bring.
– By CAP’s Valeri Vasquez and Junayd Mahmood.