Drivers can save hundreds of dollars annually on their car costs when the new fuel economy standards announced by the Obama administration go into effect. Overall, Americans will save $44.3 billion at the gas pump according to analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS, with the new standard that requires automakers to have a 54.5 mpg fuel economy average for their fleets by 2025.
As one might expect, the states that will see the biggest savings overall are some of the largest states in the country: Texas ($5.024 billion), California ($4.954 billion) and Florida ($4.223 billion). But in terms of per household savings, the NRDC/UCS study shows the savings in the hundreds of dollars for drivers in many states. The top 10 states for per-household savings due to spending less on gasoline are:
1. Texas ($425 per household)
2. Louisiana ($415 per household)
3. Tennessee ($396 per household)
4. Arizona ($387 per household)
5. North Carolina ($372 per household)
6. Florida ($371 per household)
7. Colorado ($370 per household)
8. (tie) Maryland ($365 per household)
8. (tie) Virginia ($365 per household)
10. Georgia ($364 per household)
In case you are thinking that 54.5 mpg sounds like a huge leap over the next 13 years, it is a big jump, but it's not quite as big as you may think. The 54.5 mpg number is an average for an entire automaker's line-up of cars. This means that some cars would be higher, while other vehicles would be lower. In addition, fuel economy tests that arrive at official EPA estimates are based on lab tests, not real-world driving conditions. According to the NRDC/UCS, cars and trucks in 2025 will actually average about 40 mpg in real-world driving. Still, this is a vast improvement over the 22 mpg on-road average we see in cars today.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.