Earlier today, the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency issued new rules that will dramatically increase the efficiency of American-made automobiles.The new standards require that the average efficiency of new cars and trucks made by American auto companies be increased to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. American automobile manufacturers agreed to these rules last year during negotiations with federal regulators. The Obama administration previously issued standards that required the average fuel efficiency of American-made cars to be 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama in a press statement. “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 administration estimates that the new rules will reduce American oil consumption by 12 billion barrels while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by six million tons. By doing so, they predict the standards would cut American greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025.In order to reach these new standards, auto companies will have to invest more resources into alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric and hybrid cars, while also improving mileage on standard vehicles. The companies were also able to obtain a midprogram review to assess progress toward the 54.5 standard as part of the negotiations.“After years of billion-dollar investments by automakers, consumers have a lot of choice in fuel-efficient cars and light trucks,” said the Auto Alliance, an auto industry trade group, in a statement. “We all want to get more fuel-efficient autos on our roads, and a single, national program with a strong midterm review helps us get closer to that shared goal.”Several groups have stepped forward in support of the new regulations. The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations, have detailed the expected benefits of the new fuel standards. According to their projections, 570,000 jobs will be created as a result of the new rules. In addition to jobs, American consumers will save $54 billion by 2030 through the new standards.“These new standards will help propel the auto industry forward by giving American families long-term relief from volatile fuel prices,” said United Auto Workers (UAW) President Bob King. “Cleaner vehicles that significantly reduce our nation’s oil consumption are good for the auto industry and its workers, good for the environment and good for our nation’s economy.”
Joseph Misulonas is a summer 2012 In These Times editorial intern.