As the summer driving season kicks off and high gas prices continue to pinch family budgets, Senators Gordon Smith and John Kerry introduced legislation yesterday to help drivers get the most out of a tank of gas. Their bill will require vehicles to have real time fuel efficiency gauges, giving drivers more information on how their driving style directly relates to their fuel efficiency.
"Developing technology will help drivers conserve gasoline," said Smith. "Utilizing this practical technology in our vehicles can drastically reduce our fuel consumption and provide needed financial relief for American families."
"At a time of record gas prices and a strong public awareness of global climate change, Americans are looking for sensible alternatives to help fill their gas tanks less often and reduce their impact on the environment. Fuel efficiency gauges are a significant step towards putting drivers back in control of their fuel use and driving habits," Kerry said.
Smith and Kerry's bill would require all passenger vehicles and light duty trucks manufactured or sold in the United States, beginning with model year 2013, to display real time and average fuel economy in a location easily visible to the driver. The fuel efficiency gauge will provide the driver with both instant fuel efficiency and average efficiency readings. For example, when the driver accelerates, they would instantly see an increase in fuel consumption on the gauge - prompting them to drive smarter. A recent study by Nissan showed that when drivers have this immediate feedback, they get up to 10 percent greater fuel efficiency by modifying their driving.
Last March, along with Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Senator Smith introduced the Fuel Economy Reform Act of 2007. This legislation led to Congress approving and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation implementing the first change in fuel economy standards in 20 years.