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NRDC: Drivers Could Save $68 Billion Under Obama Gas Plan

NRDC: Drivers Could Save $68 Billion Under Obama Gas Plan

April 20th, 2012 by James R. Hood of Consumer Affairs in News

Drivers will save $68 billion in fuel costs when the Obama administration's 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard is fully implemented in 2030, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Drivers in Texas, California and Florida will save the most in 2030 according to the NRDC report.

But motorists can find already relief from $4-a-gallon gas prices on the showroom floor, NRDC said. New 2012 models contain substantially more fuel-efficient choices as automakers begin to fulfill requirements under the administration's original 2009 clean cars agreement to raise standards to 35.5 mpg by 2016.

"Drivers today have twice the fuel-efficient car options than just three years ago. The technology -and fuel savings-- are only going to improve thanks to even stronger efficiency standards," said Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "As consumers look to trade in older cars over time, they will have the latest in fuel saving technology available to them, putting money back in their pockets."

The 54.5 mpg by 2025 standard, set to be finalized in August, will double today's average level of fuel efficiency. This will save individual drivers $4,400 over the life of the vehicle, after considering the cost of the fuel saving technologies. NRDC quantified savings in all states in 2030, giving the more efficient vehicles a chance to penetrate the roadways.

57 models

The NRDC analysis also found there are 57 fuel-efficient models available in showrooms today, rising from 27 models in 2009. Automakers have introduced a plethora of fuel-saving features in some of the more popular, conventional gas-powered cars as a result of the 35.5 mpg standard. This gives consumers fuel-saving vehicle options in addition to buying a hybrid or electric vehicle.

"This study should put to rest any notion that drivers have to sacrifice anything for to get more miles to the gallon," said Alan Baum, principle with Baum and Associates who contributed to the analysis. "From pickups to SUVs to minivans to cars, automakers are squeezing more out of vehicles with conventional gasoline engines than ever before. The internal combustion engine is far from dead; it's just going through a major makeover. "

Top 20 states

The top 20 states where drivers would save the most from the 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards are:

1) Texas $7.750 billion

2) California $7.270 billion

3) Florida $6.683 billion

4) New York $2.959 billion

5) N. Carolina $2.797 billion

6) Georgia $2.564 billion

7) Virginia $2.179 billion

8) Pennsylvania $2.004 billion

9) Tennessee $1.958 billion

10) Arizona $1.887 billion

11) Illinois $1.853 billion

12) Ohio $1.664 billion

13) Washington $1.547 billion

14) Maryland $1.529 billion

15) Michigan $1.520 billion

16) New Jersey $1.452 billion

17) Alabama $1.271 billion

18) Kentucky $1.207 billion

19) Missouri $1.207 billion

20) Minnesota $1.162 billion

These state rankings are a net savings, reflecting the actual fuel savings at the pump and the incremental costs associated with fuel-saving technologies in the new vehicles, according to the report.