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Wide Open Nevada Has Special Stake in Mileage Debate

November 5, 2007

Las Vegas, NV – This week's rising cost of oil could end up costing Nevada commuters more at the pump, but a bill in Congress could spell some relief in that department, with an increase in fuel efficiency that supporters say will save money for Nevada drivers.

Congress is looking at an increase in fuel efficiency standards for American cars and light trucks, to 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020. Dan Geary with the National Environmental Trust in Nevada says with the local price at the pump topping $3 per gallon, better fuel economy means big savings for Nevada drivers.

"The fact is Nevada residents drive more than average and have retail gasoline prices that are higher than the national standard. The combination of the two makes transportation fuel costs for families in the Silver State quite high."

Geary says in addition to big savings for Nevadans, better fuel efficiency means fewer dollars going to trouble spots abroad.

"Nevadans send well over $2,000 a minute overseas for foreign oil. It is critical that we do something about this. We must insist that our automakers step up to the plate and provide us with more fuel efficient vehicles."

Phyllis Cuttino with the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency explains the average savings that will come from upping fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon will be $700 a year for two-car families.

"Oil prices hit a historic high this summer, and we expect that they are going to keep ticking up. Obviously, if you can drive farther on a tank of gas, it will save the average consumer more money."

Automakers who oppose the higher fuel efficiency standards argue the requirements could make vehicles less safe.

Michael Clifford/John Robinson, Public News Service - NV