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We Can’t Wait: Driving Forward with New Fuel Economy Standards

November 16, 2011 - 4:04pm

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The Vehicle Cost Calculator helps consumers go beyond the sticker price of a vehicle and determine the lifetime cost when they head to the car lot. | Photo by Kino Praxis.

The Vehicle Cost Calculator helps consumers go beyond the sticker price of a vehicle and determine the lifetime cost when they head to the car lot. | Photo by Kino Praxis.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the White House Blog.

Today marks a major step forward in the Obama administration’s efforts to save American families money at the pump, reduce our country’s dependence on oil, and boost domestic manufacturing.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have formally announced their joint proposal to set stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light-duty trucks. When combined with other actions the Administration has taken to increase efficiency in the transportation sector, this announcement will save Americans $1.7 trillion, reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day by 2025, and slash greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons.

Under the proposal, model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks are expected to achieve increases in fuel efficiency equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This builds on the first phase of President Obama’s national program announced in 2009, which will raise the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

These standards provide regulatory certainty and flexibility for auto manufacturers. By continuing the national program developed for model year 2012-2016 vehicles, EPA and DOT have designed a proposal that allows manufacturers to keep producing a single, national fleet of passenger cars and light trucks that satisfies all federal and California requirements, while ensuring that consumers enjoy a full range of vehicle choices.

The ambitious goals established in these standards will drive innovation in the manufacturing sector and help create high-quality jobs across the country. Major auto manufacturers are already heavily invested in developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 targets. A wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including 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. The new standards should also encourage manufacturers to explore electric technologies such as start/stop, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles. Notably, the model year 2017-2025 proposal includes a number of incentive programs to promote early adoption and introduction of “game changing” advanced technologies, such as hybridization for pickup trucks.

Developed in partnership with 13 major auto manufacturers including Ford, GM and Chrysler, the state of California, the United Auto Workers (UAW), consumer and environmental groups, and other stakeholders, these achievable and cost-effective standards represent the most significant federal action ever taken to improve fuel economy and reduce carbon pollution. In fact, these standards will bring the nation over halfway to the President’s goal of reducing oil imports by a third by 2025.

The President’s national fuel economy program represents a key component of the comprehensive energy policy that this Administration has pursued since day one, which aims to increase safe and responsible energy production at home while reducing our overall dependence on oil with advanced biofuels and greater efficiency.

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