Clean Cars Would Save Michiganders over $8 Million on Thanksgiving Travel

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Environment Michigan

As Michiganders prepare for one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, a new Environment Michigan report finds that more fuel efficient cars would save Michiganders roughly $8 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, Michiganders should be focused on clearing their plates, not clearing out their wallets at the gas pump,” said Nicole Lowen, Federal Field Associate for Environment Michigan. “Cleaner cars would keep roughly $12 in each Michigan family’s wallet this Thanksgiving—enough to bring a few extra pumpkin pies to dinner!”

With roughly 692 thousand families taking to the road to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving, Michiganders are expected to spend roughly $15 million at the gas pump for their holiday travel. We are one of the top 10 states which would benefit the most from new fuel standards. Environment Michigan pointed to the inefficiency of our cars and trucks as one of the main reasons Michiganders are forced to spend so much at the pump.

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 Michiganders 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 Michigan 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:

* Michiganders would save roughly $8 million at the gas pump, or $12 per family.

* 2,849,000 fewer gallons of oil would be consumed in Michigan.

While the Environment Michigan 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 Michiganders over $2.6 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. Many of these innovations are right here in Michigan. Manufacturing and development of high-powered batteries for electric cars have created jobs and attracted billions of dollars of investment to our state. Earlier this year Michigan was host to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition, an international challenge to create extremely fuel efficient vehicles with a $10 million prize.

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 Michigan 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 Michigan’s economy and our environment,” said Ms. Lowen. “Now we need the Obama administration to push ahead with the clean car standards that will make these benefits a reality.”