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July 20, 2012

New Car Fuel Economy Standards Will Save Money, Oil

As the dog days of summer continue to bake much of the country, causing record breaking drought and scorching heat, it's time to consider a dog's view of doubling the fuel efficiency of America's new cars and cutting their carbon pollution in half.  Although...it does depend on the dog:

As summer heat continues, we have some cool news to look forward to. Next month, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are expected to issue the final new fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for the new cars that will be sold between 2017 and 2025. 

These standards, building on those already in place for new vehicles starting this year and running through 2016, will double the fuel efficiency and halve the carbon pollution our new vehicles emit. 

The money, oil, and carbon savings from doubling efficiency are huge. In 2030 these standards will save 3.5 million barrels of oil every day, save Americans a net of $150 billion, and keep at least 640 million tons of climate pollution out of the atmosphere.

Benefits like these are why Americans continue to strongly support setting a high bar for fuel efficiency and reducing pollution.  A recent poll by the Consumer Federation of America shows that:

  • 88% said the U.S. should reduce oil consumption;
  • Those who said that it is a "very important" goal want to get at least five more miles per gallon fuel economy from their next vehicle;
  • 74% said the new 54.5 mpg standards are a good idea;
  • Significantly, 66% said they'd support the higher standards even if that meant higher sticker prices.

That strong support for strong standards was loud and clear last fall when more than 500 people turned out at hearings in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Detroit applauding the proposed standards from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation.  More than 280,000 comments were sent to the Administration saying YES to strong standards.

"It is clear that consumers have a growing appetite for fuel economy," said Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America. "As more fuel-efficient vehicles penetrate the market, I fully expect the preference for even higher fuel economy to strengthen."

And it is - the public is responding:

Sales of vehicles featuring alternative power sources also jumped during the first six months of the year as gasoline prices rose. The segment, which includes traditional hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles, posted sales growth of 71 percent through June. The Toyota Prius led the segment with 126,654 unit sales, a 90 percent increase over last year.

So doubling up is great news for vehicle owners (and those of us with dogs will remember to stop for walks!)

-- Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign


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