The Benefits of the Historic New Fuel Economy Standards

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The Benefits of the Historic New Fuel Economy Standards

Congressman Mike Quigley, Mike Douba of Argonne National Laboratory, State Representative Ann Williams, and Jeff Riley with Pew Environment Group explain the  benefits of the joint U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) final rule increasing fuel economy standards at Grossinger City Autoplex in Chicago.

“It’s not everyday we accomplish an effort that simultaneously protects our economy, environment, health, consumers, and industry. These rules are the culmination of years of work by automobile manufacturers, the Obama Administration, and environmental leaders, all of whom I applaud for their collaboration. The new CAFE standards reduce the amount of pollution we emit, oil we import, and money we spend at the pump. The benefits of these rules are huge and exactly the type of creative conservation effort we must continue as we craft our larger national energy plan,” said Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL).

The standards issued are for Model Years 2017-2025 and increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.

Consumers are expected to save more than $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, resulting in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. The nation benefits by dramatically reducing our reliance on foreign oil, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil and reducing oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025. The rules are also expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010.

These new rules build upon the standards established previously by the Obama Administration for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016. Those standards, which raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg, are already saving families money at the pump.

State Representative Ann Williams said at the event today, “finalizing these new, significantly higher fuel economy standards is an important milestone for our country as a whole – and a real victory for the White House, automakers, consumers and the environment. I am confident the implementation of these rules will result in greatly improved air quality, decreased emissions and more and more consumers opting for fuel-efficient vehicles. We will feel the positive impact of these rules for years to come.”

The new rules are projected to have additional benefits by enhancing innovation and competitiveness in the auto industry. Higher fuel economy standards help American manufacturers develop new technologies that spur investment in research, development, and production of advanced vehicles, which can improve overall competitiveness. As Mike Douba, lead principle investigator of Advanced Powertrain Research at Argonne National Laboratory, noted at the event today, “These rules are a profound accomplishment by setting the stage for future reductions in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions of new vehicles. At the end of the day however, it will be the scientists and engineers that are going to make this happen. I marvel at their efforts and support all the programs and activities that keep America a leader in science and engineering.”

While some political opposition to new rules remains, consumers have shown they are willing to buy autos with higher miles per gallon to save money at the pump. Currently, all automakers offer vehicles with 35 mpg or higher in their fleet and it was just reported that Detroit’s Big 3 posted their best sales in August in 5 years. In July 2011, a poll conducted for the Pew Clean Energy Program by the bipartisan polling team of the Mellman Group Inc. and Public Opinion Strategies found that Eighty-two percent of respondents supported an increased fuel efficiency standard of 56 mpg by 2025.

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