Cost savings due to upcoming fuel economy standards will save consumers even more than originally forecast, according to a new study published by Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports.

Consumers who buy a 2025 model will save approximately $3,200 per car and $4,800 per truck over the service lifetime due to the increasingly stringent fuel economy standards set for 2022-2025. If gas prices rise from the current, historically low prices, the savings could reach $5,700 per car and $8,200 per truck based on projections.

“By meeting the CAFE standards for 2025, automakers will help save consumers money on operating costs and protect against future gas price shocks,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Energy Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Unfortunately, we are seeing some automakers and auto industry trade groups launch an effort to weaken these reasonable and achievable standards.”

These findings reflect the latest analysis by Consumers Union of the costs for achieving the tougher standards, which shows the investment into the technology required to comply is overshadowed by the probable fuel cost savings. The study factored the latest data released by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a recent Technical Assessment Report.

Since Consumers Union released a study in May 2016, several key assumptions made by the government agencies have shifted, including lower technology costs, lower lifetime miles driven, lower fuel-efficiency performance for trucks, and higher fuel efficiency for cars.

The federal report also found that:

  • Automakers are developing and deploying new technologies at significantly faster rates and scale than previously anticipated, including improvements to engine start/stop, continuously variable transmissions, high-compression engines, and 48-volt batteries, among other technologies.
  • The costs of these technologies are expected to be similar or slightly lower than initially anticipated.
  • Automakers can meet the standards primarily through advancements to traditional gasoline engines, with limited deployment of newer hybrid, all-electric, or plug-in electric engines.
  • Automakers are over-complying with today’s standards while experiencing record sales and record profits.

“Despite low gas prices, automakers are already beating today’s fuel economy standards and the government’s analysis illustrates that automakers have the ability to meet the 2022-2025 standards,” said Baker-Branstetter. “Our analysis shows that meeting the standards is not only possible, but doing so means more money in consumers' pockets.” 

Fuel Economy Today

The 2025 outlook is more positive, in part, because of fuel economy progress seen in today’s cars. As automakers race to develop the tech and vehicles necessary to achieve those ambitious goals, they are also addressing the expectations for current shoppers.

A recent Consumers Union survey found that despite relatively low gas prices, 80 percent of respondents feel that increasing fuel economy is important and 70 percent believe government should continue to set the standards for higher efficiency. More than half of all Americans expect higher fuel efficiency in their next vehicle purchase.

More efficient choices are popping up in every vehicle class, and consumers can expect to see continuous improvements in vehicle offerings going forward.

To see how models stack up, compare tests results on the car model pages at ConsumerReports.org/cars