WHAT  IF
We Drove  Our  Most
Efficient  Car?
                      A powerful weapon to tackle climate change may already be parked in
                your garage. Almost 60% of U.S. households own more than one vehicle.1 We all
      know driving our cleanest, most efficient car pollutes less and saves us money at the pump.
      So why do we sometimes hop in our less efficient ride instead of our gas-sipping hybrid? It
      could be habit: you and your spouse may each have a preferred car that you drive regard-
      less of who has the longer commute. Or maybe it's practical: the infant car seat just fits
      better in the SUV, or you fear trusting your teenager with your new set of wheels. There are
      many factors that contribute to how we assign cars to household drivers on a given day. But
      what if people always chose to drive the most efficient car that meets their needs?
What's the bottom  line?
One study estimated we could cut fuel consumption 10% by
switching to our highest mpg car when feasible.2-3 That's because
there's often a sizable gap between the most and least efficient
vehicles in our garages. And households with more vehicles tend
to have a larger gap, so those families could save even more fuel.

There are 65 million multi-vehicle households in the United States.
Each of these households drives an average of 28,000 miles per
year.1 If each one reduced fuel consumption by 10%, we'd need
about 10 billion fewer gallons of gasoline each year.4

What does that mean for our wallets? Assuming $2.50/gallon of
gasoline, we'd save over $25 billion in fuel costs. We'd pollute less,
too. Driving our highest mpg cars more could prevent almost 100
million metric tons of tailpipe C02 emissions, equivalent to taking
almost 20 million cars off the road.
                       DRIVING OUR HIGHEST
                       MPG CARS COULD SAVE US:

                       • $25 billion dollars
                        in fuel costs

                       • 100 million metric tons
                        of CO2 per year
                        (equivalent to taking almost
                        20 million cars off the road)
1  U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2009 National Household Travel Survey. URL: http://nhts.ornl.gov.
2  Bolon, Kevin M., Gregory A. Keoleian, and Lidia P. Kostyniuk. Fuel Use and Optimality of Assignments in Multivehicle Households in 2001 and
  2009, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2382, Transportation Research Board of the National
  Academies, Washington, D.C., 2013, pp. 83-91. DOI: 10.3141/2382-10.
3  The study considered it feasible to switch to a more fuel efficient household vehicle if the vehicle is available for the trip, or series of trips, at the
  scheduled time and is able to seat all passengers. It did not account for cargo requirements.
4  We assumed an average fuel consumption of 5.9 gallons/100 miles for multi-vehicle households. This was calculated using values provided in
  the study and an assumption of 55% city driving and 45% highway driving.
             United States
             Environmental Protection
             Agency
                          Office of Transportation and Air Quality
                                      EPA-420-F-15-022
                                          June 2015

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What  would it  be like?
Families would save an average of $400 at the pump each year
from driving their higher mpg car more—enough to buy a lot of
groceries. Of course, the impact on your wallet will depend on
your household's vehicles and driving habits.
Consider these examples:

Case 1:
Nicole drives a 14 mpg SUV for her 20-mile trip to a suburban
office park while her husband takes their 20 mpg sedan to work
at a local bank 10 miles away. If, instead, she drove the more
efficient car for her commute, they would  save over $250 a year
(assuming they work 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year).

Case 2:
Emily drives a  17 mpg  minivan to her high  school hockey practice
10 miles away every Saturday. Switching to her family's 45 mpg
hybrid would save about $100 per year (assuming she goes to
practice every week). That's enough to throw a pizza party for her
team.
DON'T OWN MORE THAN
ONE VEHICLE?
You can still save fuel. Before
you rent a car or reserve one
in a carshare program, think
about mpg.
          Tips  to get started
          It can be a hassle to change our routines, but prioritizing mpg can have a big impact.

                 -S  Think about your regular trips first. Can you ditch the low mpg option for
                    the longer commute, school drop-off, or other routine activities?

                 -S  When your kids ask which car they can borrow, consider whether they're
                    driving across town or across state lines. Let them take the high mpg car
                    for longer drives.

                 -S  Opt for the more fuel efficient vehicle for long-distance trips. You can use
                    the fuel savings to buy Grandma some chocolates.

                 -S  When considering your next vehicle purchase, think about how much
                    capacity you actually need. Perhaps both vehicles don't have to fit the
                    entire basketball team.

                 -S  Looking for something to talk about at the breakfast table? Why not
                    compare schedules and challenge your family to share cars in a way that
                    minimizes household gasoline use.
Already putting the most miles on your most efficient car? Next time you're car shopping, look for an even
higher mpg vehicle to park in your garage. Visit EPA's Green Vehicle Guide to find the most efficient cars
that meet your needs. See epa.gov/greenvehicles.

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