Why fuel efficiency?

Also known as “fuel economy,” fuel efficiency is a measure of how far a vehicle can travel per unit of fuel. In the United States, this is expressed as “miles per gallon” (mpg).

Fuel efficient vehicles require less gas to go a given distance. When we burn less gas, we use less oil. When we use less oil, we cut global warming emissions and produce less pollution. And because we’re using less fuel, we’re spending less on gas—a lot less.

Improving the fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles is the biggest single step we can take to cut America’s oil consumption in half. In fact, doubling the fuel efficiency of new cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles would, by 2035, save over 5 million barrels of oil per day.

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Smart policy can improve fuel efficiency

Testifying in favor of fuel efficiency

In the United States, automakers are required to meet certain fleet-wide fuel economy and pollution standards, set in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

If correctly implemented, these standards could, by 2030, decrease our oil use by more than 3 million barrels per day—roughly equivalent to the combined U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela. They’d pay off, too: consumers could save more than $8,000 over the life of a 2025 vehicle, even after buying the more fuel-efficient technology.

But more can be done. California has passed legislation that goes above and beyond the federal standards, which the U.S. could use as an example. And heavy-duty vehicles (such as semis and school buses) could become significantly cleaner with more progressive standards.

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We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can protect consumers, the climate, and our environment from the growing costs and risks of our oil use —but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.