White House Issues Landmark Fuel Efficiency Regulations

Photo by MJ/TR. Some rights reserved.

After much delay and hubbub, today the Obama Administration, via the Department of Transportation and the EPA, issued new final rules boosting vehicle mileage standards in an effort to curb U.S. dependency on oil and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions (we all know the drill by now).  The DOT and EPA’s joint mileage/carbon limit rules set two models, targeting a 34.1 MPG standard by 2016 for passenger vehicles and 54.5 MPG by 2025.

The DOT asserts that the issuance of these rules “will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads” and will save Americans “more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels,” which sounds like a positive in theory, but may well be met with some political opposition from Republicans who would claim that these rigid rules pose a threat to an American economy that’s struggling to get back on its feet as it is (Romney himself has criticized the standards as a “regulatory overreach,” though ThinkProgress points out that this is actually a reversal of his previous stance on fuel efficiency).

The standards have much in common with proposed figures that were issued last November which also required steady increases in fuel efficiency between the specified years. President Obama calls them “the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” Sierra Club President Michael Brune praised Obama’s bold actions as “the most significant…  by any President in history to move our country off oil.” As of now, there are only two American cars on the market that currently meet the standard: the Chevy Volt and the BEV FWD model of the Ford Focus.

One response to this post.

  1. […] this week, the Obama administration announced its fuel efficiency standards for cars in an effort to curb U.S. dependency on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a […]


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