New fuel economy standards of 54.5 mpg are being formally introduced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light trucks.
Cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are currently responsible for nearly 60% of U.S. transportation-related petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The standards literally double fuel efficiency from current levels and reduce carbon emissions by almost 50%.
In July, the auto industry and Obama administration agreed to the fuel economy standards, which build on the 35.5 mpg standards that are in force for model years 2012-2016.
"This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," says President Obama.
American families will save $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 will result in an average fuel savings of over $8,000 per vehicle. The US will consume 12 billion fewer barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day - as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day.
The standards cut carbon pollution by more than the amount emitted by the entire US last year. And they'll create 150,000 American jobs.
New Standards Get Overwhelming Support ... Almost
In a poll released this week, Consumer Reports found that 93%of Americans support higher fuel economy, and 80% agree that fuel economy standards should require auto manufacturers to increase the overall fleet average to at least 55 miles per gallon by 2025.
According to TrueCar.com, the average fuel economy of light vehicles is 22.2 miles per gallon.
111 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama, commending him for the standards.
But for some unknown reason, some members of the GOP are still trying to block them. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is continuing his "investigation" of the agreement and Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH) has an amendment to block EPA from implementing the standards.
U.S. auto dealers are also fighting the standards even though all the manufacturers have signed on. Dealers want the DOT alone to set fuel targets, without involvement from the EPA. They also complain that new technologies mean higher costs, which could suppress sales in a struggling economy.
They don't complain about new technologies available in cars today, like iPod and Bluetooth hook-ups, or GPS, just fuel economy technologies.