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But Just How Tough?
There's been much speculation about what the EPA's post-2016 fuel economy standards will be when they're announced this week. As of now, thanks to an executive order from the Obama administration, the national fuel economy standard will be 35.5 mpg by 2016. After that -- well that's where the speculation comes in. Environmental groups are lobbying hard for a meaningful bump for the 2017-2025 period, with many setting their sights on topping out at 60 mpg. But is a fuel economy standard that progressive in the cards for 2025?Probably not.
Environmental Leader has the story:
A coalition of 20 leading environmental groups lead by the National Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club have called on the administration to set a target of 60 miles per gallon by 2025 but officials have said that is unlikely, Scientific American reports.The truth is, that figure is entirely doable -- auto companies have the technology to produce such efficient vehicles right now, just not cheaply. Over the course of 15 years, that target would be easy to hit. And it would have a major impact, as well, like EL notes: "If the 60 mpg standard were met, the coalition estimates the U.S. would cut oil dependence nearly 50 billion gallons annually and carbon emissions by more than 500 metric tons per year by 2030."
Environmental and auto industry experts close to the process believe EPA and DOT will propose a yearly average increase ranging from 3 percent to 6 percent. The 60 mpg figure would require a roughly 6 percent annual improvement.
That, of course, is nothing to sneeze at -- and the move would send clear market signals to automakers, making efficiency an even greater development priority. The standards are due by the end of the month, so we'll have to wait and see what actually winds up on the table.