Environment California Research & Policy Center
Los Angeles, CA—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 $30 million at the gas pump this Thanksgiving alone. The report was released as the Obama administration is developing new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks.
“This Thanksgiving, Californians should be focused on clearing their plates, not clearing out their wallets at the gas pump,” said Sean Carroll, Field Organizer for Environment California. “Cleaner cars would keep roughly $13 in each California family’s wallet this Thanksgiving—enough to bring a few extra pumpkin pies to dinner!”
With roughly 2.3 million families taking to the road to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving, Californians are expected to spend roughly $54 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.
Environment California was joined by Senator Fran Pavley and Bill Rinker, VP of LACarGuy’s Toyota of Santa Monica, in releasing today’s report. Senator Pavley is the author of the landmark California Clean Cars Law, AB1493. Bill Rinker has just installed the country’s first open-access electric vehicle charging station.
Senator Pavley said, “This report clearly shows that it just makes sense to have stronger national fuel efficiency standards. Such standards are a win, win, win. Consumers will save money at the pumps, we will reduce our dangerous reliance on foreign oil – which according to top military leaders is a significant national security risk, and we will help protect our environment by cleaning up our air and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Here in California we have seen both the public and the business community embrace the multiple benefits of clean energy policies. I believe it’s time for the federal government to take action.”
Bill Rinker said, “As the number one hybrid dealer in the country and across the globe, we have seen the conscious effort drivers are making to help the environment. Every day, we see more drivers on the road with hybrids and more efficient cars that rely on less fuel. Priuses alone have saved more than 650 million gallons of gasoline over the last ten years since they came to market. Keeping the earth at the top of our minds while we enjoy the holidays with our friends and family, will ensure we have something to be thankful for in the future. It’s time we change our driving habits.
The new report, “Gobbling Less Gas for Thanksgiving: How Clean Cars Can Save Americans Money and Cut Oil Use,” 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 money would be saved at the gas pump—and how much less oil would be used—if the average car taking those trips in California this Thanksgiving got 60 miles per gallon 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 got 60 miles per gallon:
- Californians would save roughly $30 million at the gas pump, or $13 per family.
- 9.5 million fewer gallons of oil would be consumed in California.
While the Environment California report examined the potential benefits from just one holiday weekend’s worth of travel, a separate analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a fleet-wide 60 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standard for new cars and light trucks in 2025 would save Californians $13 billion at the gas pump in 2030.
Multiple studies have shown that the technology exists today to make our cars and trucks much cleaner and more fuel efficient. Conventional cars and trucks can be made with more efficient engines and more lightweight materials, while hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles can go dramatically farther on a gallon of gas.
Recognizing all of this, the Obama administration recently finalized clean car standards for cars and light trucks, covering model years 2012-2016, which represented the largest increase in fuel efficiency in more than 30 years and the first-ever global warming tailpipe pollution standards. But realizing that we can and need to go even further, the Obama administration is currently developing new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2017-2025. Environment California is part of a broad coalition of groups urging the Administration to move clean cars into the fast lane by making 60 mile per gallon cars the norm instead of the exception to the rule.
“We should give thanks this Thanksgiving that clean cars can reap huge benefits for California’s economy and our environment,” said Carroll. “Now we need the Obama administration to push ahead with the clean car standards that will make these benefits a reality.”
Environment California is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.