What the new federal rules for vehicle gas mileage mean for Arizona drivers and mechanics


TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — By 2026, new vehicles will have to average 40 miles per gallon or better, according to a new federal rule announced Friday by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Automakers would be required to produce cars, minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks that get better mileage than ever before,” Buttigieg said. “That means if you fill up four times a month, that would become three times a month by the 2026 model year based on these averages. That would save a typical family household hundreds of dollars.

The new requirements increase gas mileage by 8% per year for the 2024 and 2025 model years and 10% for the 2026 model year. Good Works Auto Repair owner in Tempe, Glenn Hayward, says he has noticed over the past two decades that vehicles are beginning to change to improve fuel economy. “The whole makeup of the cars – they made them lighter, they made them more fuel efficient with smaller engines with more power. So then, as engines and cars get lighter, they use less gasoline to run them,” Hayward explained. “GM, Chrysler, Ford, and other automakers have already started mass-producing hybrid vehicles, all-electric vehicles, plug-in vehicles.”

Hayward says it won’t be a big step for automakers to make more fuel-efficient cars, but he says having more electric cars can come with its own set of problems. “There is the fuel economy factor, but on the other side, what happens when the vehicle runs out of electricity? Right now, our country doesn’t have the infrastructure to support everyone with electric vehicles,” Hayward said.

He also says electric cars will cost more, both to buy and to repair. Hayward says 20% of his customers have hybrid vehicles and now he says more mechanics will learn to work on them. “I just got an email yesterday that the government is going to subsidize auto shops. We’re basically getting into the electrical repair business and they’re going to help them with their education costs. My guys are excited about it. They can’t wait,” Hayward said.

Buttigieg’s announcement comes a day after President Joe Biden announced a plan to tap into the National Petroleum Reserve to mitigate rising gasoline prices. “We can anticipate that this would put downward pressure on oil prices,” said Aldo Vazquez of AAA. “Yesterday, for example, crude oil was around $107 a barrel and I think after that announcement we expected that to be downward pressure, and today it’s around $100 a barrel. barrel.”

Vazquez said it’s hard to tell how much pump prices will drop. “It really depends on how much oil is bought in the market and how long the release is happening,” Vazquez said. “We also have to keep in mind that there is still some volatility in the global market, especially with the war in Ukraine. likely upward pressure on gasoline prices despite the President’s announcement.

Vazquez added that AAA recently conducted a survey that found drivers are at their breaking point. “We released a survey a few weeks ago that showed 59% of drivers said they would make significant changes to their driving habits and lifestyle if prices rose above $4, which we’re seeing more of. We’re starting to see people choosing to eat out less, save more money, drive less because of the prices,” he said.


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