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Newer Cars Saving PA Drivers Money at Pump

July 7, 2014 - Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvanians who traveled the roads over the holiday weekend likely felt the pinch at the gas pump, but some spent a lot less money fueling up than others.

New research from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) finds the average fuel economy of new cars has improved by 20 percent in the past four years.

Jack Gillis, CFA director of public affairs, says drivers of 2008 models typically spend about $2,300 a year on gas - and those who drive a typical 2014 model are spending about $300 less. And he says savings should only increase as manufacturers improve fuel efficiency.

"By 2020, you'll be spending just under $1,800," says Gillis. "So, there's tremendous good news out there, from both the fact that consumers are demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles and buying them, but more importantly, car makers are offering them."

He adds Americans are showing strong support for the new fuel-efficiency standards.

"What is interesting about this is that the support for these standards cuts across party lines - 76 percent of the Republicans, 83 percent of the Independents, and 89 percent of the Democrats favor the new fuel-efficiency standards," Gillis says.

Critics, including some car dealers and manufacturers, have voiced concerns that the standards could hurt business. But Gillis says consumers are driving the demand. In his group's research, most people surveyed said they expect the next car they purchase to average at least 30 miles per gallon.

He adds those who purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrids that use gasoline and electricity, are saving about $500 a year.

The new fuel economy standards require cars and light trucks to average just over 54 miles per gallon by 2025.

A report issued by the Diesel Technology Forum last year ranked Pennsylvania at number six among states for fuel-efficient vehicles, with just over 86,000 hybrid-fuel vehicles on the road.

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