Entries in Fuel Efficiency (10)


New Fuel-Efficiency Standards: What They Mean to You

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Forget 34.5 miles per gallon.  Come the year 2025, cars and light-duty trucks will be required to get 54.5 mpg under new standards announced by the Obama administration on Tuesday.

So what does it mean for you besides fewer trips to the gas station?  Advocates say two things: savings and jobs.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a nonprofit organization, consumers can expect to save $8,000 over the life of a 2025 car versus one on the road today.  Those savings, according to the administration, would be the equivalent of lowering gas prices by $1 per gallon.

A study published in June by the Blue Green Alliance, a group of 14 unions and environmental organizations, found that the changes (at the time proposed) in mpg would lead to 570,000 more American jobs, with 50,000 new jobs by 2030 in light-duty vehicle manufacturing and assembly alone.

The UCS added that the changes will also cut oil use by 3.1 million barrels per day by 2030 -- an amount equivalent to what the U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela combined.  It also said that in the effort to control carbon dioxide build up blamed for global warming, it would be the equivalent of taking a third of today's cars and trucks off the road for a year.

"If you are against these common-sense standards, you are against saving consumers money, against consumer choice, and for leaving our economy open to being crippled yet again by our expensive oil use," said Michelle Robinson, director of UCS's Clean Vehicles program.

Following Tuesday's announcement, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said "everybody is a winner today."

"Motorists win because they will have much more fuel-efficient cars to drive, thus saving thousands of dollars at the gas pump every year," Beinecke said in a statement to ABC News.  "The auto industry -- and its workers -- win because these standards will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs as well as state-of-the-art vehicles that go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gasoline."

The standards -- being touted as "historic" by the White House -- issued by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency build upon previous requirements to raise fuel efficiency by 2016 to 35.5 mpg.

The standards are also supported by 13 major automakers, which account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, though, said it had "mixed emotions" about the new standards.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High Gas Prices Driving Buyers Toward More Fuel Efficient Cars

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- High gas prices are dictating how car buyers go about purchasing their next vehicle.

A new survey from Consumer Reports found that 37 percent of consumers would make fuel economy their top priority when shopping for their next automobile.  That's followed by quality (17 percent), safety (16 percent), value (14 percent) and performance (6 percent).

Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports' deputy auto editor, said it's clear drivers are feeling the pain at the pump.

"Gas prices have been high for quite some time now.  And there is no real sign that they're going to go down to the point that they were just a few years ago.  So, looking to balance their budgets and keep an eye on costs, consumers are really looking at the operating costs of owning a vehicle," he said.

In fact, 90 percent of respondents cited gasoline costs as the number one reason for wanting a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

The pain at the pump is also leading car buyers to consider a change in how their vehicles are powered.  Nearly three-quarters -- 73 percent -- of those surveyed said they might be open to alternatively fueled vehicles, like hybrids and electric cars.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama: Congress Can Learn from the Auto Industry

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced a new compromise with the auto industry Friday to increase fuel economy standards, saying the agreement “ought to serve as a valuable lesson for leaders in Washington” who are mired in high-stakes negotiations over the debt ceiling.

“You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences.  These folks are competitors.  You've got labor and business.  But they decided we're going to work together to
achieve something important and lasting for the country,” the president said in a speech at the D.C. Convention Center.

“So when it comes to tackling the deficit or it comes to growing the economy...the American people are demanding the same kind of resolve, the same kind of spirit of compromise, the same kind of problem solving that all these folks on stage have shown,” Obama said. “They're demanding that people come together and find common ground...That's what I'm fighting for.  That's what this debate is all about.  That's what the American people want.”

The White House on Friday announced new standards to increase fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles-per-gallon by Model Year 2025. The president was joined in the agreement by 13 major automakers, which together account for over 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., as well as the United Auto Workers and the State of California.

“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said, noting the agreement means “filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week.”

“It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time.  And consumers in this country as a whole will save almost $2 trillion in fuel costs.  That's trillion with a T,” he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Announce Goal for Cars to Up Fuel Efficiency by 2025

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Over the objections of the automotive industry, President Obama will announce the government's goal Friday for all cars and light-duty trucks to offer an estimated 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

This improved fuel efficiency would affect models built from 2017 through 2025, greatly boosting the initial target of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday that this program will mean "significant cost savings for consumers at the pump, dramatically reduce oil consumption, cut pollution and create jobs."

The administration also hopes more fuel efficient vehicles will greatly reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil sources.

Detroit automakers have complained that such a goal is not feasible since it would drive up the costs of making cars and light-duty trucks, with the added expenses having to be passed along to consumers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Admin. Planning on Doubling Fuel Efficiency Standards

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Obama administration is reportedly working on a plan that will require automakers to nearly double the fuel efficiency of their cars by the next decade.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the plan calls for cars and light trucks to average 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025.  This new regulation would add to the administration's decision last year to have these vehicles average 35.5 mpg by 2016.  The average fuel economy of these vehicles today is 27.3 mpg.

The new proposal was presented to auto industry officials last week, the Journal reports citing people familiar with the matter.

Although supports say the new rule would lead to cleaner air and save drivers on gas, automakers say they would have to build more electrically-powered vehicles to meet the requirement, forcing them to hike prices.

"I don't think there's any question that people will save a lot of money with higher fuel economy standards however, it is going to make the price of cars go up," says John McElroy with

"The danger is even though consumers may save money over say a five year period of time they may not be able to afford the big bump up in prices that they're going to see," he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Revamped Fuel Economy Labels Highlight Gas Costs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration will unveil on Wednesday revamped fuel economy labels for new cars that it hopes will better help consumers gauge how much they'll have to spend on gas.

The new label design, as seen in a prototype obtained by The Detroit News, still prominently features a car's miles-per-gallon rating and annual estimated fuel cost.  But it also highlights how much more a consumer would spend over five years compared to the average vehicle, and how much the car will pollute the environment.

The labels include a car's greenhouse gas rating and smog rating, both on scales of one to 10.

The design also features a new barcode that can be scanned by smartphones and give consumers access to additional government information on the vehicle online.

The label overhaul, the first in more than 30 years, was required by Congress in a 2007 energy law.  The new design was conceived jointly by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency and will take effect beginning with model year 2013.

The Obama administration says the labels will reveal to consumers "the benefits of the historic, bipartisan passenger car and truck fuel economy rule adopted under this administration by the EPA and DOT in 2010."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called the labels a "win" for consumers and the auto industry.

Auto manufacturers had lobbied intensely against an earlier design of the labels that would have attached a letter grade from "A" to "D" for a car's fuel efficiency.  The design spurred concerns that it would hurt sales of SUVs and other larger vehicles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Car Buyers Willing to Pay More for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- When it comes to buying a new car, how much more would you pay to save at the pump?

According to a new survey by Consumer Reports, car buyers don't mind spending more on fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Consumers are willing to pay more for the right car that can deliver the fuel economy they crave without making sacrifices in safety," said Jeff Bartlett with Consumer Reports.

He said 58 percent of those surveyed said they're willing to pay more for a fuel efficient car to save at the pump.  However, only 11 percent said they would skimp on safety to do so.

The survey also found that more people are keeping cars longer.

"More than 20 percent of the respondents said that they're driving a car from the 90s," Bartlett said.  "These are cars that may not only have lower fuel economy than today's models, they also may have less reliability, at this point, and be less safe."

He added that "the average age of the cars that are driven most often has increased to eight years."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Higher Gas Prices Send Consumers Flocking to Smaller Cars

PRNewsFoto/Mitsubishi Motors North America(NEW YORK) -- Sales reports for April on the nation's big automakers show how quickly higher gas prices can chance consumer behavior.

According to detailed reports on the industry, sales of smaller cars during April jumped by 33 percent, compared to the same month one year ago.

With almost 223,000 small cars sold last month, it's the fastest-growing segment amongst both cars and trucks.  High gas prices mean big changes in consumer behavior.

The same trend occurred in 2008 when prices set new record levels that year.

But this time around, domestic auto brands actually have fuel-efficient small cars available to consumers.  The new Chevy Cruze, launched just six months ago and getting 36 MPG on the highway, is the second-bestselling small car in the country, right behind the Honda Civic.

Needless to say, something small is fueling a big boom in American car sales.

On a broader basis, sales of cars (up 22 percent) were up higher than sales of trucks (up 14 percent), underlying the push to fuel efficiency. 

Overall sales were up 18 percent during April to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 13.2 million units, showing a real growth in the broader economy.  People only buy cars and trucks when they feel confident about their long-term earning ability.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Nissan Leaf Tops the Top 10 'Green' Cars of 2011

Nissan Motor Co(IRVINE, Calif.) -- With gasoline prices inching up towards a national average of $4 a gallon, Kelley Blue Book’s just-released ranking of the most fuel efficient vehicles for 2011 couldn’t come at a better time.

The list includes standard gas-powered vehicles, hybrids and all-electric cars.  In compiling the list, the editors at Kelley Blue Book say they not only examined fuel efficiency, but also which “green” vehicles they actually enjoy driving and would recommend to others.

The top-ranked car is the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle that the EPA says will deliver 73 miles per charge, and the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon.  But fuel efficiency isn’t the only thing “green” about the Leaf -- it also features materials made from recycled items such as old home appliances and plastic bottles.

Here is Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 Green Cars of 2011:

1. 2011 Nissan Leaf, 99 mpg equivalent
2. 2011 Chevy Volt, 93 mpg equivalent
3. 2011 Toyota Prius, 50 mpg (51 city, 48 highway)
4. 2011 Lexus CT 200h, 42 mpg (43 city, 40 highway)
5. 2011 Honda Insight, 41 mpg (40 city/43 highway)
6. 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 39 mpg (41 city/36 highway)
7. 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI, 34 mpg (30 city/42 highway)
8. 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 33 mpg (29 city, 40 highway)
9. 2012 Fiat 500, 33 mpg (30 city/38 highway)
10. 2012 Ford Focus, 31 mpg (28 city/38 highway)

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hot New Car Trends for 2011

Photo Courtesy - Chevrolet [dot] com(NEW YORK) -- The end of summer marks the beginning of new car season for the automobile industry and the 2011 offerings reflect a clear trend toward smaller and more fuel-efficient rides.  Carmakers hope they are also somehow cooler than their predecessors. 

Consider General Motors' new Volt, or what calls "perhaps the most hyped car" in history.  The plug-in hybrid rolls out in November with a backup engine to recharge the battery, something its designers hope will ease "range anxiety."  That's the fear your nifty new emission-standards-meeting wheels won't have the juice to get you where you want to go. 

Ford has revamped its Focus for next year and offers the new Fiesta, which is smaller than the Focus.  Chrysler dealers will begin selling something called the 500, which describes as bulb-shaped, and Scion has the teeny tiny IQ.  It's a two-seater expected to please the urban crowd bored with circling the block for a parking space big enough to fit that tired old mini-van. 

Some of the larger models also reflect similar concerns.  The redesigned Ford Explorer promises a 30 percent increase in gas mileage.

With the White House pushing to increase fuel efficiency standards in coming years, the downsizing and shaved edges may just be the shape of automotive things to come. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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