Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
UPDATED: The Natural Resource Defense Council says drivers will save some $70 billion by 2025 from fuel savings and other costs associated with cars that get 54.5 m.p.g. -- the federal standard in that year.
Individual drivers will save about $4,400 over the life of their cars -- accounting for the increased costs of high-mileage cars.
The report says increased fuel efficiency will cut U.S. oil consumption by 1.7 million barrels a day by 2030, the equivalent of the combined U.S. oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 2011.
It will also cut carbon pollution by 297 metric tons, equivalent to the CO2 emssions of 76 coal power plants.
Alan Baum, of Baum and Associates, an automotive forecasting firm, said consumer demand for higher mileage vehicles is growing. "Before 2007 the expectation was that fuel prices would be low, and if they went up, that was the aberration," said Baum on an NRDC-organized conference call. " People in the 2005-6 period said, 'oh, okay, we’ve got a problem with whatever, political issues in the mid-east or supply shortages, etc – that’s a transitory thing and I’m not going to change my interest in fuel economy.’ From 2007 onward, it reversed."
"To the extent we enjoyed fuel prices under $3.00 in recent years, the general expectation from the consumer was that was the aberration. That the norm was going to be higher fuel prices."
NRDC says there were only 5 car models that got more than 30 m.p.g. in 2009, before the White House announced new fuel standards. In the 2012 model year, there were 15 models.
Here's a list of state saving calculated by the NRDC.
1) Texas $7.750 billion
2)California $7.270 billion
3)Florida: $6.683 billion
4) New York: $2.959 billion
5)North Carolina: $2.797 billion
6) Georgia: $2.564 billion
7) Virginia: $2.179 billion
8)Pennsylvania: $2.004 billion
9)Tennessee: $1.958 billion
10)Arizona: $1.887 billion
11) Illinois $1.853 billion
12) Ohio: $1.664 billion
13) Washington: $1.547 billion
14) Maryland $1.529 billion
15) Michigan $1.520 billion
16) New Jersey: $1.452 billion
17) Alabama $1.271 billion
18) Kentucky: $1.207 billion
19) Missouri: $1.207 billion
20) Minnesota $1.162 billion
And, in case you've forgotten, a gas price graph from AAA: