New Fuel Efficiency Rules: Consumer Savings and Progress Against Pollution

Chevrolet Volt with charging station (via Flickr's saebaryo)

A major announcement on fuel efficiency is expected in Washington, DC on Friday morning:

The Obama administration and major auto manufacturers have reached a deal to raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks between 2017 and 2025, resolving a contentious negotiation over how to cut vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement would require U.S. vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon or 163 grams per mile of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025, which represents a 50 percent cut in greenhouse gases and a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared with today’s vehicles, according to sources briefed on the matter.

These new rules are welcome evidence that government and a broad range of interests can come together around an agreement on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas reductions. They continue the Clean Air Act’s tradition of delivering big environmental and economic benefits to the nation as a whole.

The rules will extend the progress already being made under the 2012-2016 car and light truck rules– to deliver a win-win on consumer savings, relief from high prices at the pump, energy security and deep cuts in carbon pollution.

Vehicles That Work IN The Out of Doors & FOR The Out of Doors

Strong standards ensure that whether you drive a compact car or a big truck you can see big fuel savings, energy security, and environmental benefits. Many of our National Wildlife Federation members who are outdoor enthusiasts or work in natural resource fields rely on trucks, and high gas prices have a big impact. Standards that create a steady increase in fuel efficiency for all sizes of vehicles ensure that everyone gets the benefit of fuel savings – that families, small businesses and state agencies can all have the vehicles they need and see big savings at the same time.

And contrary to the doubters, the innovations we’re seeing today in engine, transmission and accessory technology deliver better efficiency AND better power and performance.  If enacted and implemented soundly, the standards will mean that you can have a truck that works in the out of doors and for the out of doors at the same time.

A Victory for Economy & Environment

While we don’t yet know the exact numbers, there’s no doubt the standard will put tens of billions of dollars a year back into families and businesses’ pockets to spur economic recovery , rather than flowing out of the country for foreign oil.  And innovation at home means jobs at home and competitiveness in the global auto market.

From what we know about the standard, trucks will face a lower efficiency improvement requirement in early years than cars.  But the agencies have also included measures to reward big jumps in large pickup truck efficiency.  We look forward to working with the agencies and the industry to ensure we move as quickly as possible to ramp up innovation and efficiency gains in pickup trucks.

The proposal still needs to be enacted and effectively implemented to guarantee its benefits, but the announcement tomorrow shows that we have what it takes to get consumers savings at the pump, enhance America’s energy security, build the cars and trucks of tomorrow, and bring all the parties together to get the job done.