Lifetime fuel costs for vehicles close in on sticker prices

Environmentalist group The Union of Concerned Scientists says most consumers spend almost as much on gasoline over the life of a vehicle as they spend on the car itself.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: February 8, 2013

At that rate, the average consumer spent $3,960 on fuel last year and would pay more than $59,000 over a 15-year vehicle lifetime.

Automakers are scrambling to meet strict new fuel economy standards that are set to increase to a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025.

The change likely will drive up vehicle purchase prices, but consumers could save money in the long run.

Natural gas producers point to the same figures as evidence that consumers can benefit from vehicles powered by natural gas.

Converting a gasoline-powered car or truck to run on natural gas can cost several thousand dollars, but the natural gas industry says consumers can make up that cost by paying only $1 to $1.50 for a gallon-equivalent of natural gas.

Electric and electric-hybrid cars can benefit from the same math, with higher up-front costs but less-expensive fuel over the vehicle lifetime.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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