The environmental and fuel conservation community is abuzz. The Obama Administration recently announced that auto manufacturers will be required to increase the average efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. 2025 seems like a long way away (and it is), but this policy is still far better news when compared to what currently exists.
Today, auto companies aim to achieve a 35.5 mile-per-gallon average by 2016, which is significantly less than the new rules. The new rules, according to the New York Times, are set to reduce fuel consumption and cut GHG emissions from vehicles as well as push auto manufacturers to think outside the box and create plug-in hybrid and electric cars. The rules will also improve the mileage of mainstream car models through the use of improved, lighter and more efficient technology.
In brief, the Obama Administration estimates that the new standards would:
- Save Americans $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, resulting in an average savings of more than $8,000 a vehicle by 2025
- Reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025 and reduce emissions by six million tons over the life of the program
It’s important to note that fuel efficiency is a critical component to reducing GHG emissions and cutting costs at the pump, however, it’s also important to increase funding into mass transit systems wherever possible to take more cars off the road entirely. Alongside that, keep in mind that these standards include incentives for the production of natural gas vehicles. The boom in domestic natural gas production may be a driving economic force, but don’t be fooled; natural gas is not clean energy and the U.S. should be investing in other, cleaner technologies as we move forward as a nation.