Clean Car Standards Would Save California Drivers $34 million on Thanksgiving Travel

Media Releases

Environment California Research & Policy Center

Culver City – As Californians prepare for one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, a new Environment California report finds that more fuel efficient cars would save Californians roughly $34 million at the gas pump this Thanksgiving alone while also making significant cuts in oil use. The report was released just days after state and federal regulators announced new clean car regulations for the coming decade. 

“On Thanksgiving, Californians should be able to travel over the river and through the woods to Thanksgiving dinner, without having to stop at the gas pump,” said Sean Carroll, federal field associate for Environment California.  “Cleaner and more fuel efficient cars would cut pollution and save California drivers enough cash to bring 4 extra pumpkin pies to dinner.” 

Last week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced plans to update the state’s Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program.  The plan will increase the amount of battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles sold in California and result in as many as 1.4 million sold between 2018 and 2025. 

“This announcement by ARB is significant,” Carroll said. “California is the nation’s clean cars leader and we urge CARB to strengthen its’ proposal to bring more electric and other zero pollution cars on the road by 2025.”    

Meanwhile, on November 16th, the Obama administration announced new proposed fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks sold from 2017 through 2025.   These proposed standards would require new cars and light trucks to meet the equivalent of a 54.5mpg standard by 2025. 

With roughly 2 million families taking to the road to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving, Californians are expected to spend roughly $74 million at the gas pump for their holiday travel.  Environment California pointed to the inefficiency of our cars and trucks as one of the main reasons Californians are forced to spend so much at the pump, and why cars consume more oil—and create more pollution—than is necessary. 
Environment California was joined by Culver City Mayor Micheal O’Leary, Wally Marks, and electric car driver Al Quattrocchi in releasing today’s report.   Wally Marks, President of Walter N. Marks Inc., installed an electric vehicle charging station at Helms Bakery. 

The City of Culver City operates and maintains 100 dedicated CNG fleet vehicles, including passenger vehicles, buses, sanitation trucks and public works vehicles.  Since 2000, these vehicles have reduced an estimated 15,500 metric tons of greenhouse gasses.  

“Enabling our vehicles to go farther on a gallon of gas is one of the best ways to help our economy and the region’s air quality at the same time,” said Mayor O’Leary.

Al Quattrocchi, a resident of Culver City, bought his Nissan Leaf about two months ago. 

“Living in Los Angeles, you notice the high price of gas.  You can see the writing on the wall, gas prices will continue to soar and the way our economy is moving we decided to take action,” said Quattrocchi.  “I save roughly $200 a month on gas.”

The new report, “Gobbling Less Gas for Thanksgiving: How Clean Car Standards Will Cut Oil Use and  Save Americans Money,” used regional Thanksgiving travel projections released last week by AAA to determine how many Californians would be traveling more than 50 miles by car this Thanksgiving.  The report then estimated how much less oil would be used—and how much money would be saved at the gas pump—if the average car taking those trips this Thanksgiving met a standard equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon—what the Obama administration is proposing new cars and light trucks meet by 2025—instead of the current 26.4 miles per gallon.

The report estimated the following benefits would be realized over the Thanksgiving holiday if the average car met a standard equivalent to 54.5 mpg:
·    8.9 million fewer gallons of oil would be consumed in California
·    Californians would save roughly $34 million at the gas pump, or $17 per family.
·    Californian vehicles would emit 87,000 fewer metric tons of global warming pollution.

The Obama administration will be conducting a public comment period to gauge public support for the proposed standards, and a final standard is expected next summer.  The proposed standard has the support of 13 major automakers, as well as the United Auto Workers and numerous environmental and consumer groups.  The standards grew out of the leadership of 14 states—in particular California—that previously adopted state-level standards.

Environment California is part of a broad coalition of groups urging the Administration to keep these historic standards as strong as possible to ensure Californians see the full benefits of the standard.  

 “We applaud President Obama’s leadership to bring California drivers the savings we deserve,” said Carroll. “Now we need the Obama administration to keep these standards strong in order to make these benefits a reality.”