New Research: Consumers Embrace New Fuel Economy Standard, Are Purchasing More High Mpg Vehicles, And Plan To Significantly Increase Fuel Efficiency In Future Purchases
First “progress report” on 54.5 mpg standard shows consumer demand strong, automakers meeting the challenge, and electrics gaining popularity
Washington, DC – Consumer demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles is high and the nation is well on its way to establishing a more fuel-efficient vehicle fleet, according to new research released today by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The analysis, On the Road to 54.5 MPG: A Progress Report on Achievability, provides the first ever “progress report,” on the response of consumers and automakers as both begin to experience the effects of the newly adopted 54.5 miles-per-gallon federal fuel economy standard.
“Looking at current market offerings, consumer purchasing trends and our surveys of consumer demand, there is no doubt that the federal effort to significantly raise fuel economy is benefiting, consumers, car companies, autoworkers and the environment”, said Jack Gillis, report co-author who is CFA’s Director of Public Affairs and author of The Car Book.
Poll: Consumers Strongly Support Higher Mileage Standards
A new nationwide poll, the first by CFA since the federal adoption of the new standard last year, finds that a large majority of Americans support federal government requirements to increase the fuel economy of new cars to 35 miles per gallon by 2017 and to an average of 55 miles per gallon by 2025 (using CAFE ratings). Top findings include:
- Eight-five percent of respondents said they “support” the requirements, with more than half (54 percent) saying they “strongly support” the standard.
- This remarkable support extends across the political spectrum, with 77 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents and 92 percent of Democrats saying they support the higher standard.
- Fuel economy will be an important factor for 88 percent of respondents in their next vehicle purchase (59 percent say it will be a “very important” factor).
- Those who say fuel economy is very important expect to get twelve miles more per gallon (mpg) from their next vehicle than those who say it is not important.
- Consumers intend to purchase even higher mileage vehicles going forward. Those who indicated that their current gas mileage was 24 mpg and who intend to purchase a vehicle in the future, expect a seven mpg increase, or to get 31 mpg from their next vehicle.
- More than half (57%) of respondents who said they intend to purchase a SUV said they want its fuel economy to be at least 25 mpg.
“These results should lay to rest any concerns that some car dealers had about consumer demand for more fuel efficient vehicles,” said Gillis. In spite of the support of car companies, unions, consumer and environmental groups, the National Automobile Dealers Association was the only major entity opposed to the new requirements.
Consumers Increase Purchase of Higher-Mileage Vehicles
The gas mileage of popular cars, pick-ups, and vans has increased significantly in the past few years, with the percentage of popular vehicles getting at least 30 mpg tripling. Comparing popular 2009 models with 2013 models, the new analysis shows that the percentage of vehicles getting at least 30 mpg rose from four to 12 percent. Over the same time period, the percentage of popular vehicles getting at least 23 mpg rose from 30 to 56 percent; and the percentage getting under 22 mpg fell from 70 to 44 percent.
In part, this increasing mileage reflected the growing popularity of four-cylinder vehicles. In 2005, less than 30 percent of the vehicles purchased had four-cylinder engines, and in 2012, nearly half of those purchased had four cylinders. “What is remarkable is that improvements in engine efficiency, driven by the standards and consumer demand, resulted in a significant increase in four-cylinder vehicles with little compromise in performance,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s Director of Research. Increasing mileage performance is also reflected the growing sales of hybrid and electric vehicles, which have doubled in sales during the past four years to over half a million vehicles.
Electric Sales Promising
“Particularly significant is our examination of the current adoption curve related to electric vehicles. Despite what many media pundits would have you believe, consumer acceptance of those vehicles is higher than acceptance of hybrids when they were first introduced,” said Cooper. “As battery technology improves and prices go down, there is no question that electrics will play an important role in meeting consumer demand for higher efficiency.”
Consumer demand for higher-mileage and alternative fuel vehicles is clearly a function of the enormous impact that gas costs have on the average wallet. “In looking at what consumers paid for gasoline in 2012, we determined that the average car owning household spent $3000. That’s 50 percent more than the total amount they spent on the energy costs needed to run their homes,” said Cooper. “Our analysis has consistently shown that increases in vehicle prices are more than offset by savings from gasoline purchases.”
Automakers Increase the Gas Mileage of the Vehicles They Manufacture
Spurred by the higher government standard and greater consumer demand, automakers are increasing the mileage of the vehicles they produce. Between 2009 and 2013, the percentage of total available models getting at least 30 mpg rose from one to nine; the percentage getting at least 23 mpg increased from 19 to 45; and the percentage getting less than 15 mpg fell from 15 to three.
“In part, this increasing gas mileage reflects the decision of automakers to improve the fuel economy of ‘new series’ vehicles – those with significant design changes. Each year from 2010 to 2013, the average fuel economy for these ‘new series’ vehicles increased – by an average of 2.2 mpg over their previous series,” said Gillis. Over the past 6 years, there were even greater mileage improvements for many individual models. Standouts include the Chevy Malibu (went from 20 to 29 mpg), the Honda Accord (went from 24 to 30 mpg), the Nissan Altima (went from 26 to 31 mpg), the Ford Escape (went from 19 to 25 mpg), and the Ford Fusion (went from 21 to 26 mpg.)
In addition, many car companies have vehicles on the market that are already meeting the new standard. We examined the 2013 vehicles on a model by model basis. Looking at the 134 different car models available in 2013, 64 (49 percent) include a model that already meets the 2014 mpg standard. Thirty-two (24 percent) have a model that meets the 2017 standard and 12 models (nine percent) already meet the 2025 standard.
“The decision to reform and restart the fuel economy program has played a much larger part in triggering the increase in fuel economy than gasoline prices, although they matter too,” Cooper said. “The impact of the standard and the dynamic response of the market are strong indicators that the long-term goal of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is achievable and in the consumer and national interest, which is why it enjoys such widespread support,” added Gillis.
To view a copy of the report: www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/ON-THE-ROAD-TO-54-MPG.pdf
Source: Press Release – The Consumer Federation of America
LANSING, Michigan — The Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan (TIA) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) recently partnered to create a new traffic safety resource DVD that can be used to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of underage drinking and distracted driving.
“Research has shown that education is a vital component to achieving a reduction of traffic crash fatalities and injuries,” said Jim Santilli, executive director of TIA. “This DVD equips public safety officials, driver education instructors, and other traffic safety advocates with a powerful resource to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving.”
The DVD includes PowerPoint presentations and videos on underage drinking and distracted driving, speaker notes, and a video depicting a dramatization of a distracted driving crash. It was produced through federal funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15-20, and distractions and alcohol are key factors in many of those crashes,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “We hope this DVD will help law enforcement officers and educators talk to teens about the dangers of underage drinking and distractions while driving.”
According to NHTSA, 3,331 people were killed and an estimated 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. Nationally, alcohol plays a role in a third of traffic deaths and was a factor in 9,878 deaths in 2011.
The distracted driving crash dramatization on the DVD was filmed in Clinton Township and received an Eclipse Award in West Michigan for production excellence. It was produced as part of the Remembering Ally campaign in memory of 16-year-old Romeo High School student Ally Zimmerman who died in a distracted driving crash in 2011.
An upcoming presentation at Romeo High School on Friday, May 10 at 9:30 a.m. will utilize the new DVD and feature Laurel Zimmerman, mother of Ally Zimmerman, and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.
Copies of the DVD are available at no cost and can be ordered by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (517) 636-4256.
“I commend the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan and Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning for their commitment to educating the public about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. “This multimedia resource gives professionals the tools needed to effectively deliver a powerful traffic safety presentation, helping us to save lives and prevent injuries in Michigan.”
The award-winning distracted driving crash video was filmed in Clinton Township on December 1 and 2, 2011.
Below is a sample letter that you can send to your Federal legislators and representatives concerning the closure.
Lower Michigan – Beginning 8 a.m., Monday, March 11, weight restrictions will be imposed on state trunkline highways in the lower peninsula. The weight restrictions will apply to state routes with M, I or US designations south of and including US-10 in Ludington east to M-47, south to M-46, and east to Port Sanilac.
In the restricted areas, the following will apply:
- On routes designated as “all-season routes” (designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be no reduction in legal axle weights.
- On routes designated as “seasonal” (designated in solid or dashed red on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be a posted weight reduction of 25 percent for rigid pavements and 35 percent for flexible pavements.
All extended permits will be valid for oversize loads in the weight-restricted area on the restricted routes. Single-trip permits will not be issued for any overweight loads or loads exceeding 14 feet in width, 11 axles and 150 feet in overall length, on the restricted routes.
For weight restriction information and updates, call 800-787-8960, or you can access this information on MDOT’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/truckers, under “Restrictions.” All-season routes are designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map, which is available online. You also may sign up to receive e-mail alerts.
Trucking companies located in New Jersey and Canada can obtain information by calling 517-373-6256.
Thousands of travelers will fly in and out of the Lansing airport beginning this week for the Thanksgiving holiday and continuing through the start of the New Year. Here’s a quick list of travel tips recommended by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The suggestions include:
- Plan ahead. Airport security screening lines are fast and efficient in Lansing, but during peak periods travelers should arrive at least 90 minutes before a domestic flight and 2 hours before an international flight.
- Have ID ready. Please have identification and boarding passes out when approaching the security checkpoint.
- Follow the 3-1-1 rule: 3-ounce bottles or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols, placed in a 1 quart-sized clear plastic zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; and 1 bag per passenger. Larger quantities of liquids may be packed in checked baggage.
- What to wear: Wear comfortable clothing and easy to slip on shoes. Take everything out of pockets before screening. Don’t wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security.
- Wrapped presents: The TSA also recommends that passengers not travel with wrapped packages in their carry-on bags.
Travelers are encouraged to visit TSA.gov for more security and travel tip information or FlyLansing.com to check other travel information from Lansing, including booking flight reservations and checking arrival and departure times of scheduled flights.
Source: Press Release
Michigan’s public transit service providers can now perform full background checks on prospective drivers to better protect children and senior citizens under reform legislation signed into law this Tuesday by the governor, state Rep. Matt Huuki announced.
Public Act 341 of 2012, authored by Huuki, allows private and public transportation providers to perform fingerprinting and background checks for prospective applicants who would serve vulnerable populations such as children, seniors and people with disabilities.
“This important new law helps better protect everyone who uses public or private transit, especially those who may be vulnerable, such as children,” said Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine. “School bus drivers are already required to undergo background checks, and parents should feel just as safe in allowing their kids to take a bus elsewhere if necessary. I want to thank my colleagues and the governor for supporting this important public safety measure.”
The new law allows the Michigan State Police to conduct a full background check, but limits transit authorities from only considering certain criminal offenses when making hiring decisions. Those offenses include criminal sexual conduct; felony assault or battery; felonious assault on a child, and child abuse or indecent exposure involving a child.
Vicki White, director of Ontonagon County Public Transit, brought the issue to Huuki’s attention. She also traveled to Lansing to testify in support of the legislation during the committee process. The legislation received unanimous bipartisan support in both the full House and Senate.
“The Legislature worked together to help create sound policy that better protects the public while safeguarding the inherent rights of applicants,” Huuki said. “It’s important to point out that this is not a mandate, and transit companies are free to use their discretion when selecting prospective applicants.”
This is the eleventh bill sponsored by Huuki that has been signed into law, making him one of the most effective freshman lawmakers in the Michigan House.
Huuki can be reached toll free at 1-888-663-4031; by fax, 517-373-9303; by email, email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48933; or through his website, www.repmatthuuki.com.
Transportation input will be delivered to Gov. Snyder, legislature and policymakers
Roads, buses, rail, bicycles, bridges and walkable cities will all be on the agenda during a series of community forums on transportation underway across Michigan.
Sponsored by the Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition, the forums are designed to generate input to Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Legislature and policymakers as they create a shared transportation vision for the state.
“Governor Snyder said during his special message on transportation last year that he wanted to start a statewide conversation to help guide transportation policy and make it a vital component of our economic recovery,” said Kathryn Gray, coordinator of the Trans4M coalition. “These forums will help deliver the needs and wishes of Michiganders to Gov. Snyder and other key policymakers.”
Forums to be held in the Central Upper Peninsula Include:
- August 29 in Escanaba, from 2:00 – 4:00 at the MTEC at Bay College, 2000 N. 30th St.
- August 29th in Marquette, from 6:00 – 8:00 at the Michigan Works! Service Center in Marquette, next to Econo Foods. Check back at www.trans4m.org for updated information on locations and times
Forums already have taken place in Midland, Royal Oak, Dearborn, Detroit and other Lower Peninsula Locations.
“People are excited about the prospects for improving Michigan’s roads, public transportation options and bike- and pedestrian-friendly towns,” said Gray. “They’re sharing that with us during these forums, and we will be sharing it with lawmakers and policy experts as we move toward a reliable, efficient and interconnected transportation system for our state.”
Transportation for Michigan (www.trans4m.org) is a statewide coalition working to create a stronger Michigan through transportation policy reform that will revitalize Michigan’s cities and towns, reconnect its people to opportunity, and spark a healthier economy. Trans4M coalition partners include nonprofits, businesses, policymakers, environmental groups, planners, academic institutions and others.
Source: Press Release – Michigan Works! The Job Force Board
DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, sends crews out to the St. Marys River to clear the channel near Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., so shipping in the area can resume.
Crews from the Soo and Duluth area offices are working to clear the channel where the Paul R. Tregurtha ran aground yesterday morning. The Tregurtha is no longer grounded, however a significant shoal developed in the channel following recovery operations.
Corps crews are responsible for surveying areas around ship groundings to determine if the federal navigation channel is clear. The Corps is currently working to remove gravel and rocks from the navigation channel. The channel will be opened as soon as it is cleared sufficiently to allow safe passage.
There are currently 11 vessels that have been delayed by the grounding incident.
The Paul R. Tregurtha is owned by Interlake Shipping Co. of Richfield, Ohio, and was carrying about 62,000 tons of coal. The ship was grounded on the west side of Neebish Island in the St. Marys River channel that leads to Lake Huron. The shipping company was able to get the ship free and moved out of the channel early this morning.
For more details, contact Lynn Rose, public affairs officer, 313-226-4680.
- Autonomous vehicles have the potential to drastically reduce traffic crashes.
- Southeast Michigan is considered an ideal location for the autonomous vehicle industry.
- Automakers are already at work bringing semi-autonomous technology to the public.
July 31, 2012 — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is conducting an online survey in collaboration with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor. Survey responses from the autonomous vehicle industry will help MDOT and CAR determine what’s needed for a successful testing environment in southeast Michigan. Automobile, robotics and technology manufacturers can take the survey at www.cargroup.org/?module=Page&sID=mdot.
Autonomous vehicles have the ability to communicate with other vehicles and the surrounding environment to safely navigate to their destination. This technology holds the potential of drastically reducing traffic crashes by taking the human elements of reaction time and distraction out of the driving process.
“Automotive and technology researchers have brought this concept to the brink of reality,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “The next steps include real-world testing to ensure the technology is working as planned and is meeting consumer needs.”
“This survey will play a pivotal role in determining what autonomous vehicle and robotics manufacturers need as a platform to further develop, test and deploy this technology,” Steudle added. “Southeast Michigan is already home to the most advanced automotive research and development facilities in the world, which makes us the ideal location for this emerging industry.”
As CNET recently reported, automakers are working to make semi-autonomous technology available for mainstream vehicle buyers, which can reduce driving times and fuel consumption for everyone. A video demonstration can be viewed on YouTube.