Consumer Reports isn't wearing quite as rosy a pair of sunglass as the federal government is about the savings prospects for US drivers once stricter fuel economy standards take effect in model year 2017. Still, the publication says drivers will save a few thousand dollars worth of gas during the lifetime of their vehicles.

CR, in a 27-page report that can be viewed here (PDF), estimates that drivers will save about $4,600 with the recently adopted Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in place. CR basically figured that the average cost of a new car would rise about $2,000 but fuel use would drop enough to save $7,300 during the car's lifetime (higher taxes and maintenance will eat up the $700 difference between the gross savings of $5,300 and the stated figure of $4,600). The publication also took note of additional benefits like a lower dependence on foreign oil and the multiplier effect of needing less money for fuel and having more to spend on other goods and services.

So, how do the feds see the situation? Last year, when the new CAFE standards were made official, the federal government estimated that new standards – which have to ramp up starting with model year 2017 and get to a 54.5 miles per gallon average in 2025 (with a real-world average that will be closer to 40 mpg) – would save the typical new car owner $8,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. Trouble is, that number didn't factor in the higher costs of producing (and buying) the more fuel-efficient vehicles.


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  • 17 Comments
      JD
      • 16 Hours Ago
      This sounds like Obama math, the more you spend the more you save. Using the same thoughts: if you are in a boat filling with water you don't throw more water in the boat to keep it from sinking.
      Reggie
      • 16 Hours Ago
      Not in the EU it won't more fuel efficient cleaner cars become, the more they increase the tax on fuel and lower CO2 based pollution tax bar. Not many will upgrade to £38,995 ($61,237) Vauxhall Ampere to save on fuel costs when you can buy a big SUV like a Dacia Duster costing £8,995 ($14,125) for a 1/4 of the price in austerity hit EU. Dacia Duster depreciation year 1 = £1,500 ($2,355) Vauxhall Ampere depreciation year 1 = £16,850 ($26,461) http://www.whatcar.com/Advice/DepreciationIndexDelete?edition1=33821&edition2=39602&remove=33821
      Dave
      • 16 Hours Ago
      I miss cars that you filled up from the back, so that you didn't have to worry about which way you pulled up to the pump.
      TPGIII
      • 16 Hours Ago
      There are so many cars that already meet the 2025 CAFE standards. Buy one now and avoid the future added cost, but realize all the saving.
      Giza Plateau
      • 16 Hours Ago
      Light weight and aero..
        2 wheeled menace
        • 16 Hours Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        if only. I'd drive a danmobile if i could. A future project is a 3 wheeled velomobile.
        Spec
        • 16 Hours Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Do you have more info on that little 2-seater you posted a picture of a few weeks back? The Speedster I think it was?
          Actionable Mango
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          That 2-seater photo was photoshop, not real.
          Dave
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          Is it better than the Elio? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-SawjhfwQk
      2 wheeled menace
      • 16 Hours Ago
      Of course that number does not include the higher cost of producing the more fuel efficient vehicles. Did you not put on the supplied rose-colored glasses on when reading the report? ;)
        Joseph Brody
        • 16 Hours Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Yeah it does about 3 sentences in. Cost goes up $2000, fuel savings is $7300 and taxes and maintenance goes up $700 = $4,600 savings overall.
          kEiThZ
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          @Dave Even then. My new Jetta Hybrid is rated at 44mpg. I drive a lot in Toronto traffic. I'm averaging 37-38mpg. And the car is still breaking in. Clearly, the cars are already here. And the tech will get cheaper over the next couple of years.
          Actionable Mango
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          54.5mpg in CAFE is 36mpg in EPA. Plenty of cars can do 36mpg today.
          kEiThZ
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          @2 wheeled menace $5000 is the premium today. But the technology is getting cheaper every year. It is conceivable that the premium will drop to about $2k by 2025 and then we'll have every major mass market model coming in hybrid form as standard.
          Dave
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          "54.5mpg in CAFE is 36mpg in EPA" source? I've read anywhere from 38 to 40 mpg. Never as low as 36.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 16 Hours Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          Sorry but those figures are not realistic at all. I'm not even counting those :P Take your average car and look at what the premium is for the hybrid version. It's usually $5000+. Not even a modern Prius gets 54.5mpg average, and that car costs $5k over it's equivalent, the Toyota Matrix. Maintenance will go up $700? Ever specced out a hybrid battery replacement, with labor? what you save in brakes does not offset that, let's be honest. What kind of technology does our government think that a 54.5mpg average car will need, and how do they know what it will cost? We have the ~49mpg average Prius and it comes at a $5k premium... what do they know that everyone else knows? They always fudge these numbers!!
      Dave
      • 16 Hours Ago
      Have you driven a Ord lately?
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