56 MPG Is Good, 62 MPG Is Better
WASHINGTON– Consumer Reports today commented on proposed fuel economy standards for 2017-2025 currently being considered by the Obama Administration. Fuel economy standards for new vehicles are already slated to improve from today’s average of 27.3 MPG to 35.5 by 2016. The White House is considering a range of improvements from 47 to 62 mpg by 2025, with news reports saying the Administration is mulling a 56-mpg standard. Moving to 62 mpg by 2025 is estimated to save consumers about $6,000 in owner costs over the life of the vehicle and cut U.S. gasoline consumption by one-third.
Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union, said, “Improving fuel economy standards is one of the most effective ways to save consumers money at the pump. We believe that an aggressive standard with a long lead time for auto manufacturers will foster the development of better cars that use less gas at an affordable price.”
David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test division, said, “A minimum standard of 56 miles per gallon is definitely good for consumers and currently achievable, but 62 is even better. Technologies to attain this level of improvement exist, and the automakers can incorporate them over the next 15 years.” These advanced technologies are currently on the market today. “In our testing, we’ve already seen highway consumption of 55 mpg in a Toyota Prius hybrid and 49 mpg in a Volkswagen Golf diesel.”
A recent Consumer Reports survey shows car buyers are willing to pay for better fuel economy. 62 percent of survey respondents said when they buy their next car, they expect to choose a model with better gas mileage than their current car. 58 percent said they were willing to pay extra money for a more fuel-efficient vehicle. These findings were from a Consumer Reports National Research Center poll of 1,764 adult car owners surveyed between April 28 and May 2, 2011.
While manufacturers will retain lots of flexibility in how to meet the new target, it will drive the development of a variety of options including electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, in addition to more fuel efficient conventional vehicles whether gasoline or diesel powered. Consumer interest in alternative vehicles is growing-Consumer Reports’ survey also showed that about seven out of ten consumers planning to buy a vehicle are considering an alternative power train, such as hybrid, electric, or flex fuel.
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