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A Review of Consumer Benefits from Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards

New vehicle fuel economy – the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for model years 2017-2025 – will save consumers thousands of dollars over the lifetime of new cars and trucks, while also cutting back on pollution, creating jobs, and reducing oil consumption.

Consumer Reports’ new analysis estimates that consumers will realize net savings of about $4,500 over the life of a vehicle, once the standards are fully implemented. Although improving efficiency will likely add a modest cost to the vehicles, consumers who finance their vehicle through a car loan (as most purchases are), will begin saving the very first month of ownership and increase their savings over the life of the car.

Fuel economy standards deliver benefits beyond the fuel savings. The 2025 standards call for carbon emissions per mile to be half the level of 2010 cars. Decreasing oil consumption also creates jobs and helps insulate our economy against global oil price spikes. In place of spending money on gasoline, consumers will have more money to spend on cars and other goods and services. Reducing oil consumption brings economic security benefits as well, reducing our consumption of a product subject to both large price fluctuations and a long-term trajectory of increasing prices.