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.