Consumer Reports says higher fuel economy standards will save car buyers money

Consumer Reports says higher fuel economy standards will save car buyers money

The tougher fuel economy standards mandated by the Obama administration will save consumers money in the short term and long term, says a new report by Consumer Reports.

The study estimates that more stringent CAFE requirements will increase the cost of a new vehicle by $1,800 (NADA has said it could be as high as $3,000). But the fuel savings over 15 years, the average lifetime of a vehicle, will total about $7,300. Consumers who paid cash for their new vehicle would break even in three years.

The immediate gas savings more than offset additional monthly payments attributable to new fuel-economy technology, CR says. In place of spending money on gasoline, consumers will have more money to spend on cars and other goods and services. CRs survey also found that fuel economy is high on the list of consumers wants when they are shopping for a new vehicle.

The fly in the ointment with this 15 year/life of the vehicle savings claim is the fact that the average new car buyer keeps his/her car for six years, with used car buyers only keeping their vehicles four, according to R.L. Polk. Accordingly, few original buyers will see the 15 year savings touted by CR.

In the composite, CR believes the new CAFE standards should save about 30 billion gallons of gasoline a year by 2025, with an estimated net benefit to consumers of $326 billion to $451 billion over the vehicles lifetime.

Download Bulletin PDF