Obama administration's 2017 fuel economy rules could save consumers money

August 30, 2012 12:00 AM

The new fuel efficiency rules released by the Obama administration require new cars to reach average fuel economy goals of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, according to Consumer Reports. The rules will be phased in starting in 2017, giving the auto industry time to do the necessary planning and acquisition of resources needed to meet the goal.

Consumers may now expect to see more hybrids and electric cars appearing on the market as automakers move to meet the requirements. Prior to the new rules, automakers were required to raise fuel efficiency to 35.4 miles per gallon by 2016, according to The New York Times.

"These standards mean consumers will be able to save thousands of dollars on gasoline over the lifetime of their vehicle. This is an achievable target that will make a positive impact in people's everyday lives. Increasing fuel efficiency in the next generation of vehicles goes beyond simple savings. It also helps lower oil consumption and cuts pollution while consumers save money on gasoline," Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, told Consumer Reports.

Ray LaHood, transportation secretary, confirms Baker-Branstetter's statement and states that the standards would save Americans more than $8,000 per vehicle by 2025. The fuel savings would exceed the expected increase on the price of more efficient vehicles, according to The New York Times.

Consumer Reports conducted a poll in April 2012 to see if there is strong support for increased fuel efficiency standards among consumers. They found that 80 percent of consumers agreed or strongly agreed that the standards should require automakers to meet or exceed a standard of 55 miles per gallon.

While waiting for the auto industry to meet these new efficiency standards, drivers can utilize the following strategies to save at the pump. Consumer Reports suggests downloading an application on a compatible GPS navigator or smart-phone, such as GasBuddy, to compare the price of fuel at local gas stations. Moreover, if the car does not need premium gas, drivers may want to opt out of the higher price of premium and go with regular. Drivers should check the owner's manual to see if premium is required or recommended. If it is recommended, then the car will be fine with regular gas. Fuel economy is reduced when tires are not properly inflated. Drivers should check tire pressure and tread often to ensure optimal performance.


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