54.5 MPG by 2025: 6 Major Carmakers Endorse Obama's Fuel Efficiency Plan


Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia; via Flickr/CC BY

One of the major obstacles has just been cleared, showing that the Obama administration's ambitious fuel efficiency plans may indeed come to pass: Six of the nation's biggest automakers have just endorsed a 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standard for cars by 2025. It's a glimmer of good news in what are otherwise dark times for environmental policy in the U.S. Here are the details: The Big Three -- Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors -- have all stated that 54.5 mpg is an acceptable, achievable mileage standard, after negotiating the number down from 56.2 mpg. Hyundai, Nissan, and Honda also said they'll sign on, and Toyota had long ago expressed support.

The Detroit News reports:

The new plan calls for hiking fuel efficiency for light trucks 3.5 percent annually from 2017-21 -- and then by 5 percent from 2022-25. The plan would hike car efficiency 5 percent annually over the period. The plan is also carving out special rules for "work trucks" -- heavier light duty vehicles used for construction.

Somewhat ironically, the only major holdout is now Toyota, the major automaker most famous in the United States for pursuing cleaner, more fuel efficient cars. What gives, Toyota?

Regardless, with overwhelming industry support, it does seem that the way will be cleared to enact the stricter standards. The result will save 40 billion gallons of oil by 2030, prevent over 400 million tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, and well over $300 billion in consumer savings for Americans. The previous tightening of efficiency rules was one of Obama's crowning environmental achievements, and the new standards greatly improve upon those.

Bear in mind that such a measure will likely be relentlessly attacked by Republicans, especially its Tea Party component, which harbors an irrational hatred of energy efficiency. After all, industry was entirely on board with the light bulb efficiency law when the Tea Party went nuts over it ...

Nonetheless, this is good news for battle-wearied environmental wonks who, frankly, could use some these days.

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