Gasoline Prices and Fuel Economy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the increasing demand for crude oil is the largest factor affecting the pricing of gasoline and what drivers ultimately pay at the pump. Oil consumption has climbed steadily and because 66% of the U.S. crude oil is imported, pricing is largely controlled by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (O.P.E.C.).

Oil prices in 2004 averaged $37 per barrel and have soared to over $126 per barrel as of May. Today, crude oil prices account for approximately 72 percent of the cost of a gallon of regular grade gasoline. The remaining factors include: Taxes (13 percent), Refining (8 percent) and Distribution & Marketing (8 percent).

Speed limits in areas are usually: 25 to 30 mph in certain residential streets and 35 – 45 mph in certain urban arterial roads. All other interstates have a maximum speed limit of 55 mph with the limit dropping to 50 mph in central Honolulu. A maximum speed limit of 60 mph only applies to two stretches of interstate:

New Fuel Economy Standards

With no end in sight to the rising gasoline prices, many drivers are feeling pinched by the increasing proportion gas expense has been taking from their monthly budgets.

However, more relief may be on the horizon. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 require fuel efficiency standards for both passenger vehicles and light trucks to increase by 4.5 percent per year over a five-year period ending in 2015. The proposal requires passenger cars to increase fuel economy from 27.5 MPG (miles per gallon) to 35.7 MPG by 2015. For light trucks, the proposal calls for increases from 23.5 MPG in 2010 to 28.6 MPG in 2015.

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