The second of three public hearings on a landmark and broadly supported proposal to provide cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars for America is taking place today in Philadelphia.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are holding the hearings on proposed fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025 passenger vehicles. The proposed standards call for fleet-wide average performance comparable to 54.5 miles per gallon, or 163 grams per mile of carbon dioxide, by model year 2025.
Mark MacLeod of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is among those testifying in favor of the historic proposal.
"This is a big deal," said MacLeod. "The proposed standards will help provide energy security, economic security and climate security. They’ll address the extensive climate-disrupting pollution from passenger vehicles, and will provide consumers with nearly double the fuel efficiency of today’s cars and light trucks. Plus, increasing the efficiency of our passenger fleet is one of the most effective things we can do to reduce our dependence on oil."
When today’s proposed standards are combined with the model year 2012-2016 clean car standards that were finalized in 2010, the light duty fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas program [PDF] is expected to reduce American oil consumption by an estimated 12 billion barrels, cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution by over 6 billion metric tons, and provide $1.7 trillion in national fuel savings over the life of the program.
America’s fleet of cars and light trucks now consumes more than 360 million gallons of fuel per day and emits about 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. Under the new standards, we will reduce our oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025 -- more than our daily 2010 oil imports from the entire Persian Gulf.
The new standards will also put money back in consumers’ pockets. Based on the projected fuel savings from today’s proposal, owners could save more than $4000 over the life of their new car or truck. Those fuel savings will offset higher vehicle costs in less than four years, and consumers who buy a vehicle with a typical five year loan will see immediate savings of about $12 a month.
The proposal already has broad support from widespread groups:
- auto manufacturers
- United Auto Workers
- small businesses
- American consumers [PDF]
- veterans and military groups
- economists [PDF]
- environmental advocates – including EDF
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. See twitter.com/EnvDefenseFund; facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund.