Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Environmental Group Calls for More Fuel Efficient Cars

A report released by a state environmental group this week contends that Connecticut drivers would save $2.4 million filling up their gas tanks over the long Thanksgiving holiday if all those driving had more fuel efficient cars.

The findings in the new Environment Connecticut study are based on estimates that roughly 195,000 families will be on the road this Thanksgiving, said Joe Blass, a spokesman for the West Hartford-based environmental group. Using that number, Blass said Wednesday that the study found that motorists could save $2.4 million in fuel costs if the average car on the road got 60 miles per gallon.

As it is, with the average American car getting 26.4 miler per gallon, those same Connecticut motorists will spend $4.34 million for gas over the long holiday weekend. And 803,000 fewer gallons of gas would be used by those drivers.

"This Thanksgiving, Connecticut families should be focused on clearing their plates, not clearing out their wallets at the gas pump," said Blass. "Cleaner cars would keep roughly $12 in each Connecticut family’s wallet this Thanksgiving—enough to bring a few extra pumpkin pies to dinner."

The release of the study comes as the Obama administration is developing new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2017 through 2025.

Environment Connecticut is part of a large coalition of groups urging the administration to make 60 mile per gallon cars the norm instead of the exception to the rule.
But Blass acknowledged that even with the support of Obama and other political leaders, American automakers over the last generation have been slow to growing sentiment for vehicles with higher fuel mileage.

"We think the 60 gallon per mile average by 2025 is something Americans would enthusiastically support," Blass said, citing a recent national survey in which roughly three-quarters of the people survey would support such a measure. "We will have more electric cars on the road by then, which will help increase the miles per gallon average."

The Nissan Leaf, which is expected to begin arriving at Connecticut dealerships sometime early next year, has received a federal Environmental Protection Agency rating that is the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon, it was announced Wednesday.

The Connecticut Fund for the Environment has joined Environment Connecticut in supporting the 60 mile per gallon average by 2025.

"Not only are the vehicles on our roads the largest single source of global warming pollution in the state, but emissions from passenger vehicles are a significant contributor to these increased health risks facing Connecticut residents," said Charles Rothenberger, a staff attorney with the New Haven-based environmental group. "Because so much of our State’s hazardous air pollution comes from mobile sources, CFE strongly supports increased efficiency standards. Reducing vehicle emissions with cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars is an essential strategy to reducing health threatening toxics and other pollutants in the air and placing us on a path to a sustainable future."

You can read the full report by clicking here.


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