- Category: Politics
30 Aug 2012
- Published on Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:58
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In a move to nearly double the fuel efficiency of new vehicles, the United States Environmental Protection Agency set fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025.
The new standards, the agency said, will “encourage innovation and investment” in advanced technologies that “increase economic competitiveness” and support high-quality domestic jobs in the auto industry.
With the standards, the U.S. aims to help save customers $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce the country’s oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.
“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “This historic agreement builds on the progress we’ve already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption.”
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He adds that it will strengthen the United States’ energy security, and would be good for middle class families and help “create the economy built to last.”
The fuel savings will be incremental, with the savings of $8,000 by 2025 over the new vehicle’s lifetime, or net savings comparable to lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon. Oil consumption will be reduced by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025 – as much as half of the oil the U.S. imports from OPEC each day.
Together with the E.P.A. in developing the standard is the Department of Tourism’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states and the public.
The new standards are supported by 13 major automakers – more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States – in an announcement they made last year. Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, with the United Auto Workers, joined President Obama the that July 2011 announcement.
“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 E.P.A. administrator Lisa P. 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.”
With the new standards, automakers are expected to use a range of efficient and advanced technologies to transform the vehicle fleet. The standards would also provide for a mid-term evaluation to allow the agencies to review their effectiveness and make any needed adjustments.
Mike Stanton, president and chief executive of the Association of Global Automakers, said the new standard is aggressive and sets a high bar for automakers, and is important for the U.S. “The new rule extends very far into the future,” he said. “No one knows exactly where the industry or marketplace will be by 2025.”
Carmakers have also started developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards – with technologies like advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems already being available. – N.P. Arboleda