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.


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 […]

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 […]

Consumer Group: White House Left Fuel-Efficiency Savings on the Table

The Obama administration’s proposal to raise auto fuel-efficiency (CAFE) standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 could have gone even further in order to reap the maximum environmental and economic benefits of cleaner cars, according to a new analysis [PDF] released today by the Consumer Federation of America. In his analysis, Consumer Federation research […]

Report: “Cash for Clunkers” Was a Lemon

Here’s the thing about subsidies: They encourage people to do more of something than they would have under normal circumstances. That’s okay if the activity the government is subsidizing creates an overall benefit for society — like better educated kids, or a cleaner environment. But if said subsidy encourages behavior detrimental to society, well, that’s […]