New Fuel-Efficiency Standards Could Mean Big Savings For Texans

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Pickup truck in Houston. Photo by Gail Delaughter/KUHF

(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF) As we've reported, a new study quantifies how much American's will save, in money and pollution, from higher-mileage cars hitting the roads. Well, the state that tops the list of savings is the oil state itself, Texas.

The report by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that U.S. drivers could save $68 billion under new fuel efficiency standards set to be implemented in 2030. Texas drivers will save more than $7 billion under a 54 m.p.g.  standard.

Auto industry analyst Alan Baum says automakers are already creating new vehicles in advance of a 35 m.p.g. standard that goes into effect in 2016. That includes pickup trucks, a popular vehicle with Texans.

"The consumer can pick the vehicle they want to serve their purpose and then find vehicles that have much better fuel economy," he said.

He's also seeing more people buy new vehicles because of high gas prices. "People are coming in and saying, I understand I've got a lot more choice here, there's better fuel economy, and I don't have to make a compromise in buying my vehicle. Please get me out of this thing and sell me a new product."

As for gas prices in Texas, the average price has been hovering around $3.83 a gallon, much less than the $4.00 mark currently seen in places like New York and California.

Texans do a lot of driving, and large vehicles such as pickup trucks are popular modes of transportation in both urban and rural areas.  Federal transportation figures show Texas has close to 15 million registered motor vehicles. The state ranks just behind California in the number of licensed drivers, with over 13 million people behind the wheel.

You can hear the KUHF story here.