The Obama administration announced newly-finalized fuel efficiency standards Tuesday, making it a goal for all new cars to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
"These fuel standards represent the single most important step we've ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," President Barack Obama said in a press release.
He added, "This historic agreement builds on the progress we've already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption...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 move was made after extensive coordination and consultation between the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency and automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states and the public.
The Obama administration is hoping the announcement will spur innovation and investment in advanced fuel efficiency technologies that not only benefit environmental protection standards but also serve to create jobs in the auto industry.
"The fuel efficiency standards the administration finalized today are another example of how we protect the environment and strengthen the economy at the same time," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
She added, "Innovation and economic growth are already reinvigorating the auto industry and the thousands of businesses that supply automakers as they create and produce the efficient vehicles of tomorrow. Clean, efficient vehicles are also cutting pollution and saving drivers money at the pump."
The announcement also comes just days after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his own energy strategy, which would allow for more state control over policy, encourage off-shore drilling in Louisiana and the Carolinas and lessen regulations.
"Governor Romney's proposal is like an easy bake recipe for cooking the planet -- double down on dirty energy, gut investments in clean energy and efficiency, and wait for the timer to go off on out-of-control climate change," environmental group Friends of the Earth's spokesman Ben Schreiber said Thursday.
"Ultimately, Romney's plan shows how out of touch he is with the reality of climate change that Americans and people across the globe are waking up to," he added.
Environmentalists, while not completely satisfied with Obama's "all of the above" approach to energy diversification, have expressed positive views of this new plan.
"Everybody wins because using less gasoline will reduce our dependence on oil and lead to cleaner air," National Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke said in a press release. "Less pollution means a healthier populace and lower medical bills. That's great for our economy."
"These new standards, moreover, will reduce carbon pollution that drives climate change. That's a win for everybody around the world—and a very big win for future generations," Beinecke added.
However, the plan does not come without some increased costs. A study undertaken by the Center for Automotive Research found each new Model Year 2025 vehicle could cost up to $6,000 more.
However, government estimates say the average per car price increase will be around $2,800, with average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 far outweighing the costs.
Those purchasing Model Year 2025 cars will experience savings equal to a $1 reduction in gas prices per gallon, according to government estimates, lowering prices to around $3.87 per gallon.
The new standards will also cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025 and reduce emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program.
"Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that use less gas, travel farther, and provide more efficiency for consumers than ever before," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release.
He added, "Today, automakers are seeing their more fuel-efficient vehicles climb in sales, while families already saving money under the Administration's first fuel economy efforts will save even more in the future, making this announcement a victory for everyone."
by RTT Staff Writer
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