Portland, Maine—As Mainers face $4-per-gallon gas prices, a new Environment Maine report finds that more fuel efficient cars would save every Mainer family an average of $490 at the gas pump this summer alone. Environment Maine released the report as the Obama administration develops new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks.
“The costs of our dependence on oil are growing out of control – from the price we pay at the pump to the climate crisis to offshore drilling catastrophes like the BP oil spill. This report shows that by helping consumers burn less oil, cleaner cars would mean we burn less cash too. Not only could more of us afford a summer roadtrip to the Rangeley Lakes or Baxter State Park, but we could stick around for a week with the money we’ve saved at the pump,” said Daniel Gatti, policy analyst at Environment Maine.
Based on current gas prices, Mainers are expected to spend more than $600 million at the gas pump this summer.
“I talk to a lot of customers: People ask me every day for cars that get better fuel economy,” said Adam Lee, Chairman of Lee Auto Mall. “And not just the Prius. People want trucks and SUVs that are better on gas.”
The report released today looks at how much money Mainers would save at the gas pump this summer if the average car or truck on the road met a standard of 60 miles per gallon—a standard that the Department of Transportation and EPA have deemed within our reach by 2025. The report found that if the average car met a standard of 60 miles per gallon this summer, Mainers would save $343 million at the gas pump, or $490 per family. Maine drivers would also consume 86 million fewer gallons of oil.
"Price increases certainly hurt the average American economically in the short term, but also represents a threat to our national security, said Adam Campbell, Iraq War veteran and volunteer for Operation Free. “One of al Qaeda’s leading sources funding comes from Saudi businessmen who made their fortunes selling oil to the United States.”
The Obama administration is currently developing new fleet-wide fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for new cars and light trucks. Environment Maine is calling on the Obama administration to set a standard requiring the average new car to get 60 mpg by 2025.
In addition, lawmakers in Augusta will soon vote on LD 553, an Environment Maine-backed bill that would set ambitious goals to reduce Maine’s dependence on oil and require the state to develop a plan to help us achieve them.
“To get Maine off oil, we need aggressive action at all levels of government. President Obama should take bold action to put cleaner cars in the fast lane. And our lawmakers in Augusta should pass legislation to set strong goals to start to get Maine off of oil,” concluded Gatti.
Environment Maine is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working to preserve Maine’s open spaces, protect clean air and water, and steer the state toward a clean energy future.