Obama's New Tougher Fuel Efficiency Standards Made Official: 35.5 MPG By 2016


Photo via Auto Info News

We knew it was coming, but it's finally been made official--the EPA and the Transportation Department have signed the rules that will significantly toughen the national fuel economy standard. Starting for new cars with a model year of 2012, the minimum fuel economy will be bumped up--eventually bringing the average new car's economy to 35.5 mpg in 2016. The AP gets why the new standards are a pretty big deal for the US--a nation whose auto industry has dragged its feet for decades now in getting serious about fuel economy:

The Obama administration set tougher gas mileage standards for new cars and trucks Thursday, spurring the next generation of fuel-sipping gas-electric hybrids, efficient engines and electric cars.

The heads of the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency signed final rules setting fuel efficiency standards for model years 2012-2016, with a goal of achieving by 2016 the equivalent of 35.5 miles per gallon combined for cars and trucks, an increase of nearly 10 mpg over current standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition to the fuel economy standards, a minimum for the amount of CO2 a car's tailpipe can emit has been adopted as well: it'll be 250 grams per mile by 2016.

These standards mark a pretty significant jump forward, and send a clear signal that fuel efficiency had better play a major role in automakers' model designs going forward. And instead of resent the standards, the auto industry is glad that such a clear signal is being sent:

Dave McCurdy, a former congressman from Oklahoma who leads the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing 11 automakers, said the industry supports a single national standard for future vehicles, saying the program "makes sense for consumers, for government policymakers and for automakers."
It's one of those rare cases where all parties appear (relatively) happy with the results (publicly, at least). Bear in mind that these standards, while certainly positive, and a step in the right direction, aren't going to be enough by themselves to put any kind of serious dent in America's oil dependence. That said, it's good news to be sure.

More on Fuel Economy Standards
Obama to Automakers: Make Greener American Cars or Go Under
Check Your Car Emissions Before Obama Does

Tags: Barack Obama | EPA | Oil | Transportation