White House: New Rules Put ‘Economy’ In ‘Fuel Economy’
The White House says new fuel economy standards by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency will save consumers trillions at the pump, with savings comparable to lowering gas prices by a full dollar by 2025—and strengthen the economy as well as the environment.
The new rules, which will require manufacturers to bring fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks up to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, fit into a narrative of economic sustainability and resilience the administration has promoted as a path out of the recession.
“By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today,” Obama said in a statement. “It’ll strengthen our nation's energy security, it's good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”
It's also a bid for domestic manufacturing and innovation in the automotive sector, which was hit hard by the economic downturn. Targeted incentives include incentives for hybrid, electric and fuel cell technologies, as well as credits for reducing emissions and fuel use that aren't covered by standard tests.
The administration says the reduction in oil consumption will have a significant environmental impact as well. Over the life of the program, total carbon emissions will be reduced by 6 billion metric tons and reduce fuel costs over the life of a vehicle manufactured to comply with the new standards by $8,000.
It will also decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil—reducing by as much as half the quantity imported each day from OPEC—a move spokespersons also connect to economic strategy.
“The fuel efficiency standards the administration finalized today are another example of how we protect the environment and strengthen the economy at the same time,” said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. “Innovation and economic growth are already reinvigorating the auto industry and the thousands of businesses that supply automakers as they create and produce the efficient vehicles of tomorrow.”
Thirteen automakers, which account for 90 percent of cars sold in the United States, back the new standards.
At the same time, naysayers have pointed out that since the new standards will be measured under near-ideal conditions, the new vehicles will likely achieve mileage in the mid-30s miles per gallon.
Jon Christian is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Christian.