WASHINGTON (Aug. 28, 2012)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued a final rule establishing a corporate average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025.
The new rule will have an impact on motorists equivalent to reducing the price of gasoline by $1 per gallon, according to a statement from the White House.
“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we've ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” President Obama said at a White House press conference announcing the rule. “This historic agreement builds on the progress we've already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption.”
The Obama administration had already approved fuel efficiency standards of 35.5 mpg by the 2016 model year.
According to the White House, NHTSA and EPA developed the 54.5-mpg standard after extensive consultation with auto makers, the United Auto Workers union, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, state officials and the public.
President Obama announced the proposed standard in July 2011 at the White House, joined by representatives of 13 major auto makers, the UAW, the State of California and others.
According to the government, the new standards will save U.S. families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, or more than $8,000 by 2025 over the life of each vehicle. It also will reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025—roughly half the oil we import from OPEC countries every day—and reduce emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program, more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the U.S. in 2010.
Auto makers will use a combination of efficient and advanced vehicle technologies to achieve the new fuel standards, the White House said. The rule provides for a mid-term evaluation to allow NHTSA and EPA to review the standards' effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary.
The Consumer Federation of America, a consumer watchdog group, hailed the new standards as a victory for consumers.
“Having spent a record $2,850 on gasoline last year, the average American household today simply cannot afford to invest in a gas-guzzler,” said Jack Gillis, CFA director of public policy. “The best way to insulate American families from volatile gasoline prices is to create a passenger vehicle fleet that gets more miles to the gallon. The new 54.5-mpg standard will deliver the cars, trucks and SUVs that consumers can afford and will love to drive.”