Classic muscle cars join the pack in leading nation towards new fuel efficiency standards

Environment Colorado

Westminster — Electric cars are not just grocery-getters anymore.  They can also be a Ford Mustang.

“This car turned heads before it had the 100% electric decal on its side,” said Duke Altschuler, co-founder of Duke’s Garage.  “As gas prices rise and become more volatile, people are going to look toward electric and fuel efficient cars.”

Cars like Duke’s 100% electric Mustang make the transition to cleaner, greener cars exciting even for the muscle car enthusiast.

Last Friday, October 1st, the Obama administration announced plans to up new fuel efficiency and clean air standards for cars and light trucks. Duke’s Garage joined environmental advocates and local officials calling on the EPA to set new standards of 60 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025.

“Cleaner cars like Duke’s just make sense,” said Scott Wozencraft, field organizer with Environment Colorado.  “Moving cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars into the fast lane is a triple win for Colorado’s economy, our energy security and our environment.”

The fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks could save Colorado residents $1.64 billion at the gas pump and cut oil use in the state by 724 million gallons per year in 2030, according to new analysis by a Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council report.

Nationwide, the new analysis found that Americans would save over $100 billion at the gas pump in 2030 and cut oil use nationwide by nearly 44 billion gallons per year, if the average fuel efficiency standard for cars and light trucks was raised to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.  These standards are also estimated to cut annual global warming emissions by 465 million metric tons in 2030, or as much global warming pollution as is produced by 120 coal-fired power plants.

The analysis was released on the heels of a national poll that found that 74 percent of likely voters favor increasing the average fuel efficiency standard for cars and light trucks to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

Westminster City Councilor Faith Winter drove home the point of why there was so much support for the new standards. “We have the technology and public support. Waiting for another shock at the pump like we saw in 2008 would have a devastating impact on our local economies,” she said.

A variety of existing technologies could be used by automakers to increase the fuel efficiency of new cars and decrease their global warming pollution.  Conventional internal combustion engine vehicles can be made much more efficient by applying technologies like high-strength lightweight materials and six- and seven-speed transmissions, while strong standards will also help to bring more hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles onto Colorado roads.

“We have the know-how, the alternative technologies and ingenuity to break the addiction to carbon based fuels,” said Shae Singer in an email, owner of Aspen Electric Cars.  “Having worked with the State legislature to create new and better incentives for electric vehicles laws and having also sold 100’s of 100% electric vehicles throughout Colorado, I know first hand that the economics for these technologies are becoming better and better.  These new standards will create not just a healthier planet, but a stronger, more resilient economy.”

The Obama administration, through the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, will begin developing new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks later this month.  The standards will cover model years 2017 to 2025.  The new standards will build on the administration’s recently finalized standards 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.  In addition, the Obama administration is currently developing the first-ever fuel efficiency and global warming standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, beginning in model year 2014.

Environment Colorado is part of a nationwide network of groups—the Go 60 MPG coalition—encouraging the Obama administration to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks to at least 60 miles per gallon by 2025 and strengthen global warming pollution standards to no more than 143 grams of pollution per mile by that year.  The coalition is also urging the administration to reduce fuel consumption in tractor trailers by 35% in 2017 and 20% for all other trucks.

Additional information:

National-Cars-Polling.pdf National-Cars-Polling.pdf
UCS.NRDC-State-by-State-Consumer-Savings-9.23.10.pdf UCS.NRDC-State-by-State-Consumer-Savings-9.23.10.pdf