Save Money on Gas, Support Better Fuel Economy

May/June 2006
http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/save-money-on-gas-support-better-fuel-economy.aspx



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If you're sick of frequent trips to the gas station to face ever-increasing prices, you may want to speak up for real improvements to federal fuel economy standards by contacting your congressional representative.

Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on fuel economy ? including an amendment from Representatives Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.). If added to legislation under consideration, the amendment would require an increase in mileage standards for cars and light trucks to 33 mpg by 2016 (from the current 24.6 mpg average). Driving vehicles held to stronger fuel economy standards would save an average family $500 per year; nationwide, we would save an estimated $19 billion in fuel costs.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), several technologies exist that could boost vehicles' fuel economy without diminishing performance or safety. Improved fuel economy standards are also a proven way to lessen our dependency on foreign oil. The reduced oil demand in 2025 ? more than 2 million barrels a day ? would equal the amount we currently import from the Persian Gulf, per a study by UCS. And burning less gas would mean a significant reduction in America's contribution to global warming pollution.

In response to the public's rising concern over skyrocketing gas prices, the Bush administration recently asked Congress for the authority to revise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The administration later clarified that it wants to replace the existing fleet-wide standards with specific standards for each class of vehicle. But unless size-based classifications are accompanied by increased standards, actual vehicle fuel economy is unlikely to improve, according to UCS. Thus, the Boehlert-Markey amendment was created to tie real improvements to vehicles' fuel economy to any revisions of the structure of CAFE standards.

For more information, visit the UCS Web site. Or view the Sierra Club's MPG calculator that shows what you would save if CAFE standards were modernized.