President Obama, major automakers and the State of California signed an agreement today to strengthen fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards for new cars and trucks!
The historic agreement increases fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks by model year 2025, literally doubling fuel efficiency from current levels and reducing carbon emissions by almost 50%.
Voila! It’s done!
In June, the White House began negotiations with automakers for the next round of fuel efficiency increases, from 2017-2025.
Although we were initially disappointed that the President immediately dropped the target from 60 mpg, we’re shocked and thrilled that he successfully achieved an agreement … and so quickly.
Automakers had been running ads against the increase, but today President Obama was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo to announce the agreement. The United Auto Workers (UAW), and the State of California, who were integral to developing the agreement were also on hand.
“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. ”
This is Obama’s third Clean Car Peace Treaty, building on a 2009 agreement which raises fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg, and a 2010 pact that cleans up heavy-duty trucks and buses.
Achieving the goals of this historic agreement will rely on innovative technologies and manufacturing that will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America, says the President.
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 over 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the amount of carbon the entire US emitted last year.
And we’ll create as many as 150,000 new American jobs.
The oil savings, consumer, and environmental benefits of this comprehensive program are detailed in a new report entitled Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil, which the Administration released today.
This national policy provides regulatory certainty and flexibility that reduces the cost of compliance for auto manufacturers while addressing oil consumption and harmful air pollution. California plans on adopting its proposed rule in the same time frame as the federal proposal.
DOE and EPA are considering various incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies that represent “game changing” performance improvements, including:
- Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles;
- Incentives for advanced technology packages for large pickups, such as hybridization and other performance-based strategies;
- Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world CO2 reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.
In addition, EPA plans to propose provisions for:
- Credits for improvements in air conditioning (A/C) systems, both for efficiency improvements and for use of alternative, lower global warming potential refrigerant;
- Treatment of compressed natural gas (CNG);
- Continued credit banking and trading, including a one-time carry-forward of unused MY 2010-2016 credits through MY 2021.
“Meeting these standards will unleash innovation in the auto industry, putting fuel-saving technology to work across all vehicle types and sizes. Automakers already have the technology to build cars, trucks, and SUVs that are less polluting and go farther on a gallon of gas. These standards will ensure more efficient engines, smarter transmissions, light-weight materials, and other clean vehicle technologies make it off the factory floor and into our driveways. It will also help put more hybrid-electric vehicles on the road and pave the way for electric-drive technology,” says the Union of Concerned Scientists.
At a time when public health protections and climate science are under daily attack from Republican members of Congress, today’s announcement shows our country can still make progress.
“What a contrast between this and the rancor and dysfunction on Capitol Hill over the nation’s debt limit. While Congress is paralyzed in ideological gridlock, toying with sending the nation’s economy over the cliff, the president, the auto companies, states, and environmentalists have, once again, shown what it means to govern and what can be accomplished by constructive compromise,” says David Doniger, NRDC.
It’s more than ironic that the House of Representatives is voting this week on a funding bill with more than three dozen anti-health and anti-environmental “riders,” including one designed to block these very clean car agreements. It’s as though the House leadership, unable to compromise on even the nation’s most vital business, is bound and determined to reach out and block anyone else from governing and compromising to solve real national problems.