New Analysis: Marylanders Would Save $1.9 Billion, Cut Oil Use By 841 Million Gallons Per Year With New Clean Car Standards

For Immediate Release

Baltimore, MD—New fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks would save Maryland residents $1.9 billion at the gas pump and cut oil use in the state by 841 million gallons per year in 2030, according to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and released in Maryland today by Environment Maryland.  The Obama administration is starting to develop new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks, and the analysis examined the potential benefits for Maryland of raising average fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025.

“Moving cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars into the fast lane is a triple win for Maryland’s economy, our energy security and our environment,” said Jon Wong, Campaign Associate for Environment Maryland.  “The Obama administration has a historic opportunity to make cars that get 60 miles to the gallon the norm instead of the exception to the rule, and we urge the President to seize this opportunity.”

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.

Environment Maryland was joined by Delegate Elizabeth Bobo and the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC in releasing today’s new analysis.

“If President Obama pushes for strong new fuel efficiency standards, it would greatly benefit the people of Maryland, saving Marylanders money at the pump and protecting our environment,” stated Bobo, who sponsored the Maryland Clean Cars Act of 2007.

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 apply technologies like high-strength lightweight materials, while strong standards will also help to bring more hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles onto Maryland roads.

“Electric vehicles not only reduce oil consumption, but also save money on fuel costs, as electricity costs about one quarter what gasoline costs, mile for mile,” added Charlie Garlow, Vice President of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC.

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.

“American ingenuity has given us the technologies we need to make our cars much cleaner and more fuel-efficient,” said Wong.  “By setting strong fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that put these technologies to work, the Obama administration can continue its progress toward a stronger economy and a healthier planet.”

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 Maryland 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.