Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Energy Efficiency

Study Finds Fuel Economy Standards Less Cost Effective Than Fuel Tax

According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study, government-set fuel economy standards, which have been practiced for many years, are 6 to 14 times less effective than a fuel tax for reducing gasoline usage.

The concept of fuel efficiency standards ensures that new vehicles are more efficient, but, what about the rest of the cars on the road? The objective of fuel economy standards is to reduce gasoline usage overall, but it only reduces the fuel consumption of new cars by making car manufacturers build more efficient vehicles.

Most people cannot buy new cars because they are all very expensive. However, a fuel tax would be an incentive for drivers of all cars — from old to new — to use their fuel more efficiently by hypermiling, using shorter routes, switching to more efficient cars (even if they are used), car pooling, using public transportation, travelling by foot, and to driving less overall.

A fuel tax is also an incentive for manufacturers to build more efficient cars. All of this is because a fuel tax drives up the cost to drive all fossil-fuelled cars.

“A tax on gasoline has proven to be a nonstarter for many decades in the US, and I think one of the reasons is that it would be very visible to consumers every time they go to fill up their cars,” said Valerie Karplus, the lead author of the study and a researcher with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. “With a vehicle efficiency standard, your costs won’t increase unless you buy a new car, and even better than that, policymakers will tell you you’re actually saving money.”

“As my colleague likes to say, you may see more money in your front pocket, but you’re actually financing the policy out of your back pocket through your tax dollars and at the point of your vehicle purchase.”

Source: Green Car Congress

Follow me on Twitter: @Kompulsa

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

America's roads, bridges, and tunnels are crumbling. What to do? Tax EV owners, says Susan Collins of Maine.


Editor’s note: Following up on my pieces about the purpose of free EV charging and why the argument that electric vehicle drivers need to...


After I wrote an article about spending $0 charging a couple of electric cars over nearly 3 years in Florida, some commenters chimed in...

Clean Power

Here's a quick review of the ways Trump and other Republicans tried to stack the deck against renewables, electric vehicles, and other clean technologies,...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.