By 2025, light cars and trucks will average 54.5 miles per gallon
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — U.S. automakers have been bragging about how they bounced back from the edge of disaster after the 2008 financial crash; now, with the adoption of new fuel efficiency standards, they’ll have a chance to prove how competitive they can be in a quickly changing world market that increasingly values energy efficiency.
The Obama administration this week finalized new rules to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. Coming on top of earlier standards, the latest move will almost double the fuel efficiency of newer vehicles compared to cars currently on the road.
Increased fuel efficiency can be achieved by the use of advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems.
The EPA said the changes will ultimately save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce 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,” President Obama said. By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. 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.”
The new standards cover production of new cars from 2-16 to 2025. The earlier standards covered vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2016, raising fuel efficiency to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg.
The final standards were developed by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public.
Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards. By aligning Federal and state requirements and providing manufacturers with long-term regulatory certainty and compliance flexibility, the standards encourage investments in clean, innovative technologies that will benefit families, promote U.S. leadership in the automotive sector, and curb pollution.
“Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that use less gas, travel farther, and provide more efficiency for consumers than ever before — all while protecting the air we breathe and giving automakers the regulatory certainty to build the cars of the future here in America,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The new rules set in the last few years are the first time fuel efficiency standards have been significantly updated in decades. The EPA estimates that the standards could save up to $8,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a vehicle.
More efficient cars should also help trim carbon emissions, potentially by as much as 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program, more than total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010.
President Obama announced the proposed standard in July 2011, joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, as well as the United Auto Workers. The State of California and other key stakeholders also supported the announcement and were integral in developing this national program.
Major auto manufacturers are already developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards.
In addition, 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 program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including: