$1.00 a gallon … when you fill up at the plug

New efficient vehicle technology lets drivers take back control at the pump. Photo: shutterstock.com
Last week the new Ford Focus Electric received its official fuel economy rating from EPA…105 miles per gallon equivalent!  At 110 MPGe city and 99 MPGe highway, that makes it the most fuel efficient 5-passenger car on the road (the Mitsubishi i and the Tesla Roadster are even more efficient, but neither seat five).

It’s good news for wildlife to see a familiar vehicle that’s 5 times as energy efficient as the average car  today (today’s average is 22 MPG), and since it doesn’t use any gasoline at all, it’s drilling, tar sands and pipeline-free.

But with rumors of gas prices hitting $5/gallon this summer (never mind rumors, I just saw $4.99/gallon for premium in my neighborhood!), there’s another reason all electric vehicles and mostly electric plug-in hybrids are a big deal. Filling up your car with electricity costs about a dollar a gallon. 

Yes $1/gallon. This year, Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and several other automakers will offer consumers electric or mostly electric plug-in hybrid cars.

Plug-in hybrids like the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi (above) and the Chevy Volt use electricity for most trips, but use gasoline for back up to go very long distances. Photo: flickr Happy Via.
The more of us join the 17,000 or so Americans  who bought an electric car last year (not counting electric delivery trucks and vans) the more what happens in the Middle East, or the demand for oil in China, just won’t affect our economy or what it costs to get where we need to go.

But the current car and truck renaissance isn’t just electric.  I’ve blogged before on how strong new fuel economy standards mean savings right now (like for those trading in their old F150 pickup truck for the new more efficient 2011 or 2012 model) and are bringing increasing relief from pain at the pump for drivers of all kinds of cars.

Every year new cars will be more efficient than the year before until, in 2025, a new car or truck will use half as much fuel as a new car or truck today. That’s like a cut from 4 bucks to 2 bucks a gallon in what it costs to take that spring break road trip. Taking all our cars—new and used together—Americans will be spending almost 40% less for gas in 2030 than they would without the new standards and innovation that comes with them.

In a  global market for oil, new drilling and pipelines can’t bring relief to Americans hard hit by high gas prices. But innovative new cars and trucks can. Its time to take control at the pump!