The freefall in crude oil prices has motorists cheering at the pump, but what about the environmental costs? Analysts say the ecological (and geopolitical) effects are still rippling through the world's economy. Here's a list of some pros and cons of cheap gas:
In the past five months, the fuel economy of the U.S. fleet has dipped from 25.8 miles per gallon to 25.1 miles per gallon. While that doesn't seem like a lot, it's the equivalent of 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, according to Nick Nigro, senior manager for transportation at C2ES, formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Federal rules are keeping the bottom from dropping out. "Consumers are very responsive to gasoline prices, that's for sure," Nigro says. "Now more than ever is when we need the fuel economy standards."