Wednesday, 17 October 2012 18:18

Businesses and Consumers Embrace Fuel Efficiency

The Obama administration's new fuel economy standards will prove to be a boon to consumers, the environment, and job creation, according to Ceres. And a study by Ford found that consumers are making the investment in greener driving.

By 2025, U.S. vehicle fleets will need to average 54.5 miles per gallon, nearly double the level of today and a level previously thought impossible by many in the auto industry. Ceres found that the new standard could create 43,000 jobs by 2030, and produced a report showing how U.S. automakers and suppliers will achieve higher profits because of the higher standards. Consumers will also save about $1.7 trillion on gasoline bills.

The new standard will help cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025 and eliminate roughly six billion tons of greenhouse gas over the course of the program. The Union of Concerned Scientists pegs these efforts to control CO2 as the equivalent of taking a third of today's cars and trucks off the road for a year.

Consumers are on board with the new direction for the automotive industry. Drivers are paying more now to go green and save money in the long run, says a survey Ford commissioned to examine Americans’ financial behavior around energy efficient driving.

According to the survey, 82 percent of Americans pay more up front for products that are energy efficient and will save on energy bills down the line. Of respondents, 70 percent say they’ve changed their driving habits to become more fuel-efficient.

Ford identified several trends from the research on driver attitudes:

  • Saving money and helping the environment are top drivers of energy-efficient purchases;
  • Almost all respondents agree on the importance of fuel-efficient vehicles (95 percent), followed by energy-efficient appliances (93 percent) and light bulbs (85 percent);
  • 7 of 10 respondents have changed their driving habits to save fuel;
  • 64 percent drive less frequently, 41 percent have slowed down, and 10 percent say they draft behind larger vehicles to save fuel;
  • 32 percent have done research to find cheaper fuel(s); and
  • 21 percent have purchased a new vehicle with improved fuel economy.

Fuel efficient cars are on the rise, with General Motors reporting a 25 percent rise in sales of its Chevrolet Cruze over just the last month. Ford saw purchases of its Focus rise by 35 percent rise over 2011, and the Toyota Prius saw a 122 percent increase over the same time.

Ford’s latest addition to its fuel efficient line is the 2013 Ford Fusion. The automaker sponsors the Ford Community Green Grant at every Green Festival, giving out $5,000 per festival to an organization or business that works to innovate in the local community.

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