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Gas Prices and Oil Costs 'Pumping Up' Call for Fuel Efficiency

November 5, 2007

New York, NY - With oil prices nearing $100 per barrel, Congress is poised to decide whether the time has come for American vehicles to get more miles per gallon. According to Jason Babbie, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, concerns over rising heating costs and prices at the gas pump nearing $3 per gallon, Congressional action to increase fuel efficiency would mean more money in New Yorkers' wallets.

"If you can go to the pump one less time a month, that's going to be real dollars saved that can help you with your grocery bill, or many of the other economic stresses that New Yorkers feel."

In addition to saving money, David Friedman with the Union of Concerned Scientists believes better gas mileage for American cars also would mean fewer dollars being shipped to trouble spots in other areas of the world.

"Over two million barrels of oil per day come from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. Given how the tensions are rising these days with Iran, imagine what would happen if they decided to shut off their oil supplies. It could leave our economy crippled."

If fuel economy standards are raised to 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020, Phyllis Cuttino with the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency says the average two-car family would save $700 a year.

"Oil prices hit a historic high this summer and we expect that they are gonna keep tick, tick, ticking up and, as you know, if you can drive farther on a tank of gas, it'll save the average consumer more money."

Some automakers object to the proposal to raise fuel efficiency standards to the 35 mile-per-gallon level, arguing that vehicle safety could be compromised.

Michael Clifford/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NY