WASHINGTON — Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, and Consumer Federation of America today said the Obama administration’s new plan to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks will help consumers save money, cut pollution, and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
Ellen Bloom, Consumers Union’s Director of Federal Policy and the Washington D.C. Office, said, “The new standards will lead to cars that consume less fuel at an affordable price. These fuel economy targets mean consumers will be able to save money on gas over the life of their vehicles, while we reduce national oil consumption. The goals set out in this plan are sound and reasonable, but there are still details that have to be ironed out in this process. We’re going to keep working to make sure the standards stay strong, because you don’t want any loopholes that a gas-guzzling truck could drive through.
“In our auto testing we’ve already seen highway consumption of 55 miles per gallon in a Toyota Prius hybrid and 49 miles per gallon in a Volkswagen Golf diesel. We have the tools to do this, and now we’ve got a good path to get us there,” Bloom said.
In a recent Consumer Reports poll of car owners, 62 percent said when they buy their next car, they expect to choose a model with better gas mileage than their current vehicle. 87 percent said the number-one reason for choosing a more fuel-efficient car was lower fuel costs. 73 percent of those planning to buy a vehicle said they were considering an alternative power train, such as hybrid, electric, or flex fuel.
Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America’s Research Director, said, “Hard, good faith bargaining has produced a program that is very good for consumers and the auto industry. By sticking to the steady, 5% improvement scenario, the program will deliver the biggest bang for the buck in the types of vehicles - cars - that consumers are most likely to purchase. At the same time, the program provides incentives to meet the more difficult challenges in transforming the vehicle fleet - getting hybrid engines into pickup trucks and promoting electric vehicles.
“We believe the economics of fuel economy will get better and better over time, as costs come down and gasoline prices rise, so that by the time the program reaches the ‘mid-course’ review in ten years, the case for accelerating improvement will be compelling,” Cooper said.
Jack Gillis, Consumer Federation of America’s Public Affairs Director and author of The Car Book said, “As long as these standards hold, the President will have taken a giant step in reducing the burden of rising gas costs on the American family, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping the U.S. car companies competitive.”