Save Money on Gas, Support Better Fuel Economy

Stephanie Lingafelter
May/June 2006
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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.








Post a comment below.

 

MEDARDO Albano
10/3/2006 12:00:00 AM
Children should also be taught on how to conserved energy & to participate on how to protect the environment.

Robert Benefield
5/23/2006 12:00:00 AM
I agree about punishing the oil companies.While I,as a businessman,in most cases,do not advocate government intervention and regulation on profit margins,in goods and services that we need,I absolutely advocate it.We want television,and beer and twinkies and hot dogs.They can charge what they want for those thigs and so what?We just won't get it.But we NEED fuel,and the entire world,almost,is set up to run on petroleum,and this,too is the fault of all national governments.So,the oil companies know that whatever they charge for a barrel of oil,they will get it.Bush will not help.He is an oil man.We need to get some REAL R&D going on alternative fuels and we need to have government cooperation,at all levels of government.

CHRIS HYLTON
5/19/2006 12:00:00 AM
I just read the fuel economy amendment in the house. We know the EV1 has proven itself. I think we as citizens should be pushing for a 0 emission standard and not worry about these small improvements that take years to implement. I think you (mother earth news), with the power that you have to reach people who are concerned about such matters, should create a petition or something that can unit us all and show our politicians what we want to happen. The thing that makes me so mad is the fact that 0 emissions has been in our grasp twice. Once with the EV1 and once with the Toyota version of their electric suv and we as citizens allowed this to fade out for no good reason.

Joyce Rapp
5/19/2006 12:00:00 AM
Better fuel economy would be nice but 1) the cost will be passed along to the consumer and 2) the oil companies will still sell less gas for more money because they are all about greed. A more effective way of keeping our gas prices down is to punish the greedy gougers by fining them and having them pay back the ill-gotten gains by lowering the prices to where they are running a negative net profit until their excessive gains have been depleted. Having them pay a tax to Congress or whoever just taxes US poor consumers more.

Joyce Rapp
5/19/2006 12:00:00 AM
Better fuel economy would be nice but 1) the cost will be passed along to the consumer and 2) the oil companies will still sell less gas for more money because they are all about greed. A more effective way of keeping our gas prices down is to punish the greedy gougers by fining them and having them pay back the ill-gotten gains by lowering the prices to where they are running a negative net profit until their excessive gains have been depleted. Having them pay a tax to Congress or whoever just taxes US poor consumers more.








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