Report: Cleaner Cars Could Put More Pumpkin Pies on Americans Tables

11 23 10 chart

Environment California has been leading the charge for a cleaner automobile fleet for California and the rest of the country for years.  Earlier today, they released a new report, Gobbling Less Gas for Thanksgiving, promoting a “sixty miles per gallon” fuel efficiency mandate for American cars to be in place by 2025.  If that goal seems unrealistic considering that the average miles per gallon for the American fleet is only 26.4 miles per gallon today, consider that recent studies show that American cars are 99% cleaner today than they were fifty years ago.

To view the report, click ##
To view the report, click ##

As the Obama administration considers new fleet-wide fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks through 2025.  Despite election results in November that would suggest that environmental concerns aren’t at the top of voters’ to-do list for the White House, Environment California notes that almost three-quarters of American voters (74%) support a sixty miles-per-gallon standard when polled.

And when it comes to fuel efficiency, the Obama Administration practices what it preaches.  Nearly one-quarter of all hybrid cars bought since January 19, 2009 from Ford Motor Company and General Motors were purchased by the Federal Government.

While some find this a sign that hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles aren’t capable of earning a market share without record-high gas prices, others find it encouraging that the administration isn’t just setting standards while still cornering the market on gas guzzlers.  Bloomberg news reports:

“It is good that the government leads by example,” Dan Becker, director of the Washington-based Safe Climate Campaign, said in an interview. “At a time when we’re just beginning the era of the hybrid, it’s a positive sign that the government is stepping up to the plate and helping build that market.”

As for the findings from “Gobbling Less Gas,” Environment California finds that on average, Americans would save over $12 dollars just over the course of the Thanksgiving season if cars averaged 60 miles per gallon instead 26.4.  Or, in an attempt to hit drivers where it counts during the holidays, theses savings would put three more pumpkin pies on the table for the holidays.  Or, over the course of a year, it would save American drivers $101 billion at the gas pump each year and cut our oil consumption by nearly 3 million barrels of oil per day in 2030.  To put that in perspective, we import 1 million barrels of oil every day from Saudi Arabia.

Put another way… more than 39 million people will drive for trips of at least 50 miles to visit family and friends, racking up a $418 million bill at the gas pump this Thanksgiving holiday.  With a standard of sixty miles per gallon, Americans would save $234 million at the gas pump on Thanksgiving travel and cut gasoline consumption by 80 million gallons.


The Big Trouble with “Miles Per Gallon”

(Photo: snoweyes via Flickr) Can you answer this riddle? A town maintains a fleet of vehicles for town employee use. It has two types of vehicles. Type A gets 15 miles per gallon. Type B gets 30 miles per gallon. The town has 100 Type A vehicles and 100 Type B vehicles. Each car in […]

Higher Gas Prices Alone Won’t Make Cleaner Cars a Reality

The average carbon emissions of U.S. vehicles. (Image: EPA) It’s a storyline that the media and the auto industry have embraced: Higher gas prices are the magic ingredient that U.S. carmakers need in order to sell more fuel-efficient vehicles to consumers.  The narrative is tempting, especially for those who believe federal gas taxes need to […]

Thoughts at a Workshop On Replacing CA’s Gas Tax With a Mileage Fee

Earlier this week, I attended a California Sustainable Transportation Funding Workshop, hosted by Caltrans, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the California Transportation Commission (CTC), and the Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA). The half-day program focused on how the state of California could shift from our current gas tax funding stream to one based on […]

The Climate Pitfalls of Denmark’s Electric Car Parking Perk

(Charles Komanoff is a frequent contributor to NYC Streetsblog on energy policy, carbon taxes and transportation reform.  For a complete bio, click here.) Only two cities of more than a million people are known to have a bicycling mode-share over 30 percent: Amsterdam and Copenhagen. As Rutgers urban expert John Pucher has documented, cycling’s vibrantly […]