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Clean Cars Would Save $260 Million Over Thanksgiving

Fuel-efficient cars like the Nissan Leaf are becoming more popular, and if everybody exceeded federal efficiency guidelines, the savings would top $260 million over the Thanksgiving weekend.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nissanev/5180346422/
Fuel-efficient cars like the Nissan Leaf are becoming more popular, and if everybody exceeded federal efficiency guidelines, the savings would top $260 million over the Thanksgiving weekend.

A new report by an environmental group suggests that if all cars on the road this holiday weekend met President Obama's new fuel efficiency standards, gas consumption in America would drop by $260 million.

"They would save over $15 just over the Thanksgiving holiday, which is enough to put a few extra Pumpkin pies on the table for dinner," says Jillian Hertzberg with Environment America, breaking down the numbers per family. Hertzberg says under the plan, oil consumption would decrease by 75 million gallons during Thanksgiving travel alone.

Consumer Reports' Online Automotive Editor Jeff Bartlett says, when it comes to saving money on gas, the majority of car owners are willing to pay more upfront: "Gas prices are hitting people in their wallets, but they're also impacting people’s green perceptions," Bartlett says. "And increasingly, we're seeing that people are very aware of the impact driving a car has on the environment, as well as our national petroleum policies."

That may be why, as Vince Sheehy of Sheehy Auto Stores is gearing up for Black Friday sales at his local dealerships, the 100-percent electric Nissan Leaf is nowhere in sight. The Leaf is Consumer Reports' top-ranked vehicle for fuel efficiency.

"The Nissan Leaf is off to a good start," says Sheehy. "I think it’s pretty much sold out for the year."

The 100-percent electric car can run for 100 miles per charge on average, but Sheehy says buyers don't have to go electric to save on gas. "There’s been a tremendous improvement in the fuel efficiency in what we call the mainstream vehicles and I think that’s really narrowed the gap with the hybrids," he says.

President Obama is hoping to close that gap by the year 2025. That's when he's proposed all cars and light trucks get at least 54.5 miles per gallon.

Correction: The original version of this story mis-stated the power source of the Nissan Leaf, and listed its mileage as 100 miles per gallon. The Leaf is an electric car that can travel an average of 100 miles per electric charge.

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