Photo credit: Maia via Flickr/CC BY-SA
It's official; cars sold in the U.S. are going to have to be quite a bit more efficient by 2025. I reported earlier in the week that the major automakers had agreed to new, stricter fuel efficiency rules, and today, President Obama announced the detailed plan. The American fleet will have to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. I just got off of a call with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and she elaborated on some of the details.
She pointed out that "companies making 90% of the cars sold in America support these standards," and that industry is on board to comply with the standards. She estimates consumers will save a total of around $1.7 trillion savings in fuel costs -- by 2025, the standards will save $8,000 per vehicle.
Furthermore, the atmosphere will be spared from an estimated 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases.
According to a statement released from the White House shortly beforehand,
Over the life of the program, the standards will save an estimated 12 billion barrels of oil - nearly four years' worth of consumption by light-duty vehicles at current levels.Jackson also said that as a result of the new efficiency measures, both GM and Chrysler were opening efficiency divisions that would each employ 1,000 people.
By 2025, the standards ... will reduce oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day ... As the vehicle fleet turns over and older vehicles are replaced with more efficient ones, the oil savings from these standards will grow, ultimately reaching over 4 million barrels a day - nearly as much as we import from all OPEC countries combined.
"That's 2,000 American jobs created," she said. More jobs, less pollution, less oil consumed, and cleaner air -- these are the points the administration hammered away at, and rightfully so.
The only qualms with the announcement in green circles concern something called the "technology reopener", which some fear will leave a loophole in the rules, and a way to weasel out of the standards. Climate Progress's Stephen Lacey has more on that here.
All told, however, this is a positive development indeed. It's a bright spot in a dark, stormy season for environmental policy.