In addition to reducing carbon emissions and helping improve air quality, stricter federal fuel economy standards have the potential to save car owners a lot of money, a new report claims. Fuel efficiency remains to be one of the leading factors affecting car purchasing decisions in the U.S., even though gas prices have been at record-low levels for a while now.
Consumers are aware that gas won't be as cheap as it is today for much longer, and most of them regard good fuel economy as a top priority when shopping for a car. Luckily, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has set strict fuel efficiency standards that are set to go into effect in 2025, and are expected to curb fuel expenses to a large extent.
Savings of up to $8,000
The new EPA targets are based on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards,
requiring automakers doing business in the U.S. to raise the average fuel economy of their fleets to 54.5 mpg by 2025, and a new report by Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, states that the upcoming rules will have a great economic impact on motorists.
The Consumers Union study claims that car owners can expect to save at least $3,000, and light-truck owners about $4,200, over the lifespan of their vehicles, once the new federal fuel efficiency standards are introduced.
These net savings are calculated using gas prices between $3 and $3.50 per gallon, and the report notes that if prices rise to anywhere between $4.50 and $5.75 per gallon, the savings would reach $5,600 for cars and $7,300 for light trucks.
"We’re already seeing automakers beating today’s standards," said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, the energy policy counsel for Consumers Union. "And with existing and emerging technologies in this field, we believe there is great potential for even more progress in this space, even if gas prices remain low.”
Will Automakers Meet the 2025 Goal?
While the 2025 CAFE standards certainly have the potential to bring substantial financial benefits to consumers, the question is whether automakers will be able to meet those goals and how they will do it. At this point, it seems that most global manufacturers' preparations for the upcoming standards are in full effect, with many companies investing in new technologies for improving gasoline-powered vehicles' fuel efficiency, while also developing hybrid and all-electric models, as the most effective way to comply with stricter fuel economy regulations.
“Consumers often rate fuel economy as a key factor in choosing their next vehicle. This study confirms that increasing fuel efficiency for cars and trucks will result in healthy fuel savings for these buyers,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Energy Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “By meeting the existing CAFE standards for 2025, automakers will help save consumers money on operating costs and protect them against future gas price shocks.”