Fuel Efficiency and Climate Pollution Standards Point U.S. Auto Makers, Consumers in Right Direction

July 29, 2011
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NEWS RELEASE

(Washington, D.C. – July 29, 2011) New fuel efficiency and climate pollution standards that were announced today by President Obama will help move the country toward energy independence and a safer climate, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The President announced the results of an agreement among automakers, government officials and other stakeholders moments ago. The deal will increase fuel efficiency standards for U.S. passenger cars and light trucks to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025.

"If U.S. automakers achieve 54.5 miles per gallon, it will vastly improve our national future on many levels. And they certainly should succeed; we have the technology to reach that goal, and even to surpass it," said EDF President Fred Krupp. "This is an important step toward energy independence. More efficient cars will boost our national security, improve our climate and save us all money at the gas pump."

American cars and trucks now consume more than 350 million gallons of fuel every day. That costs American consumers more than $1.3 billion a day at the gas pump.

The new standards are expected to reduce U.S. oil consumption by 23 billion gallons of gasoline every year – or roughly the equivalent of our 2010 oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. That would lower our costs at the gas pump by more than $80 billion in 2030, according to a preliminary analysis by Union of Concerned Scientists.

The new standards are also expected to reduce carbon pollution from vehicle tailpipes by 280 million metric tons in 2030. That's roughly the output of 72 coal-fired power plants.

The updated standards will apply to passenger cars and light trucks built between 2017 and 2025. Fuel economy standards for cars will increase 5 percent over each of those years. Fuel economy standard for light trucks will increase 3.5 percent each year through 2021, and 5 percent a year after that. On average, fuel economy for light-duty vehicles will reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The dual greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards are being issued under the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and will be respectively administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The President's leadership in forging this landmark accord will also be essential in ensuring it is carried out through emission standards to be proposed this fall and finalized in 2012.

"This is another example of the importance of the Clean Air Act to the lives of all Americans," said Krupp. "Now all eyes will be on the auto industry to see if they can capitalize on the potential here. The smartest automakers should view the new standard as a floor, not a ceiling. Those who do will be the ones who win the most customers. "