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White House Announces Ambitious New Fuel Efficiency Standards for Vehicles

The Obama Administration announced late in July that it had reached a historic agreement with thirteen major automakers to increase the fuel economy of cars and light trucks to 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025.

President Barack Obama’s push for the new fuel efficiency standard was joined by carmakers Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo, as well as the United Auto Workers union and the state of California.

“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “Most of the companies here today were part of an agreement we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years. We’ve set an aggressive target and the companies are stepping up to the plate. By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.”

The Administration had previously reached an agreement with automakers for model years 2012–2016 that will increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks to 35.5 miles per gallon. The new higher standard of 54.4 miles per gallon will apply to model years 2017–2025.

According to the Administration, the new fuel efficiency standard will save U.S. families $1.7 trillion at the pump between now and 2025. By 2025 the new standard will result in average fuel savings of more than $8,000 over the life of a typical vehicle. The Administration also said that the new standard will dramatically reduce the amount of oil Americans consume, carbon dioxide emissions and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Between now and 2025, the standards are projected to cut total oil consumption by 12 billion barrels of oil. By 2025, the standards are projected to cut oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels of oil per day, or approximately half the amount of oil the United States currently imports from OPEC nations every day.

Carbon pollution is expected to decrease along with oil consumption. By 2025, greenhouse gasses are projected to be cut by more than 6 million metric tons, which is more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States all of last year.

New Fuel Efficiency Standards Also Target Commercial Vehicles

The Administration followed the announcement of new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks with an announcement in August that it had also reached an agreement with truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners and the state of California to increase the fuel economy of work trucks, buses and other heavy duty vehicles by 2018.

“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” said President Obama. “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy and drive these trucks.”

Unlike the fuel economy standard for cars and light trucks, new standards for commercial vehicles for model years 2014–2018 are based on several categories depending on vehicle design and purpose:

  • Combination tractors, also known as big-rigs or semi-trucks, will be required to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2018, saving up to an average of 4 gallons of gas for every 100 miles travelled.
  • Heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans will be required to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2018, saving up to an average of one gallon of gas for every 100 miles travelled.
  • Vocational vehicles, including delivery trucks, buses and garbage trucks, will be required to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2018, saving up to an average of one gallon of gas for every 100 miles travelled.

According to the Administration, the new commercial vehicle efficiency standards will save $50 billion in fuel costs and more than 500 million barrels of oil between 2014 and 2018 while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons.

Sources

“President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard,” The White House Office of the Press Secretary press release, July 29, 2011.

“White House Announces First Ever Oil Savings Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks, Buses,” The White House Office of the Press Secretary press release, Aug. 9, 2011.

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