New Mileage Standards Would Double Fuel Efficiency

×
New mileage standard would double fuel efficiencyBy MATTHEW DALY and TOM KRISHER

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has finalized new fuel economy rules that will require the fleet-wide average of new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to double over the next 13 years.

The average fuel economy must reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 28.6 mpg at the end of last year.

The regulations will bring dramatic changes to the cars and trucks in U.S. showrooms, with the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

To meet the standard, automakers will need to introduce new technology to improve gasoline-powered engines. And they'll need to sell more alternative fuel vehicles. Critics say the rules will add thousands to the price of new cars and make them unaffordable for many.

The administration says the latest changes will save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs and bring an average savings of $8,000 over the lifetime of a new vehicle sold in 2025. The standards also are the biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said. Tailpipe emissions from cars and light trucks will be halved by 2025, the government said.

President Barack Obama said the new fuel standards "represent the single most important step" his administration has taken to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has opposed the standards, and his campaign on Tuesday called them extreme and said they would drive up the price of new cars. Any savings at the pump would be wiped out by rising costs of cars, the campaign said.

The gas mileage requirements will be phased in gradually and get tougher starting in 2017. They build on a 2009 deal between the Obama administration and automakers that committed cars and trucks to average 35.5 mpg by model year 2016.

In the arcane world of government regulations, the rules don't mean that cars and trucks will average 54.5 mpg in 13 years. It's actually closer to 40 mpg in real-world driving.

Under the complex regulations, dubbed "Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE," automakers can have lower mileage by using credits for selling natural gas and electric vehicles, changing air conditioning fluid to one that pollutes less, and even for placing louvers on car grilles to improve aerodynamics. They won't have to improve pickup truck mileage much for the first few years, but big improvements will come later, after 2020.

Still, automakers have been adding technology to boost gas mileage, mainly because people want to spend less on gasoline, which averaged about $3.75 per gallon this week. The research firm J.D. Power and Associates says that fuel economy is the top factor people consider when buying a car in the U.S.

By 2025, some bigger models may disappear, and dealers could offer more efficient gas-electric hybrids, natural gas vehicles and electric cars. There also will be smaller motors, lighter bodies and more devices to save fuel, such as circuits that temporarily shut off engines at traffic lights.

The changes will raise new car prices, but the government says that will be more than offset by the savings at the pump.

The new rules were adopted after an agreement between the administration and 13 automakers last year. That's a change from the past, when automakers fought stricter fuel economy changes, saying it cost them too much to build vehicles to meet the stricter standards.

Industry leaders repeatedly told the Obama administration that they wanted one nationwide fuel standard, fearing separate mileage standards from California and other states.

"They wanted certainty so that as they invest in the future they will know what rules they are playing by," Jackson said.

Fuel economy standards were first imposed on U.S. automakers in the 1970s. The aim was to make cars more efficient and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil at time when the Arab oil embargo was creating gasoline shortages. The administration says this is the first update in decades.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will enforce the standards, calculating the average mileage of cars sold by each automaker. Automakers can be fined if they don't comply.

The requirements, which can be imposed without congressional approval, will be reviewed in 2018 and could be reduced if the technology isn't available to meet the standards.

The rules are tough, but General Motors (GM), the largest U.S. car company, will roll out features to comply, spokesman Greg Martin said.

"Consumers want higher fuel efficiency in their cars and trucks, and GM is going to give it to them," he said.

The administration likes to tout cooperation between automakers and the government in forming the latest rules.

____

Krisher reported from Detroit.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

10 Comments

Filter by:
hugozoon

Oil is a dead!We need to start switching to different fuels I drive a cng car and pay 2.46 a gallon!

August 29 2012 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rcyrilj

One big argument for higher CAFE ratings is that it will save consumers money. What will really happen is first, the price of vehicles will go up significantly and second, as fuel consumption drops fuel taxes will increase proportionally to maintain the highway trust fund. End result, consumers will pay more for their vehicles, which will probably have a shorter service life due to all of the weight reduction engineering, and the price of fuel will increase so much that they will not see their fuel costs go down. It may reduce greenhouse gas emissions (a lot of variables in terms of a total energy stream analysis) and foreign oil imports (again that depends on domestic production regulations) but certainly no consumer savings.

August 29 2012 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Russell Bennett

The people behind this have something besides saving gas in mind.It appears they might want to reduce the size of the Auto Industry and the American economy. They are trying to force a car that cost a lot more and kills more people.

August 29 2012 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Russell Bennett's comment
jdykbpl45

That is Obama's agenda.

August 29 2012 at 8:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jdykbpl45's comment
hugozoon

for those stupid people who can't drive!

August 29 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
oldupser

Walk, ride a motor skooter, drive a roller skate. That is your future while the King obama rides in a hand made limo. You and I are nothing to him except his subjects.

August 29 2012 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Russell Bennett

Someone has covinced a lot of the American people that we had to save Gas even if it kills people.It is time to get off this kick. Your life is worth more then a few gallons of gas.

August 28 2012 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MSmailbox

I worked at a GM plant for 8.8 years as a Communications Project Specialist (EDS - retired). During that period, I witnessed what CAFE standards did to the automobile and the industry. Unless you want to be driving a matchbox, baby-box, I urge that you reconsider this proposal. Simply eliminate the loan guarantees to Brazil (Petrobras) and cease the susidies to foreign oil drillers, which is insane for America to be doing. Why did George Soros invest an incredible amount in Petrobras (PBR)? Because he's inside and stands to make a ton more money, which is then "reinvested" into every Left-wing, anti-American interest from marijuana legaliztion (I was "inside" MPP, the Marijuana Policy Project, for 16 or 17 years; I still have a "lifetime membership"), to abortion funding, you name it, George wants to see America destroyed/"changed." Where all this hatred of God & Country comes from, is a mystery to me. Follow the money-trail and see who's behind all this garbage. Is it too late? Of course NOT! People are being brainwashed into believing that there's no hope. Well, I tell you a secret... There are tons of good, Christian/Jewish people who won't tolerate this kind of stuff, without dying for it. As Martin Luther King taught us, "non-violent civil disobedience" works equally well in stopping racism as it does socialism, communism and other contageous "isms." We've only begun to fight, you got that right!

August 28 2012 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MSmailbox's comment
chev66427

Volkswagen Jettss got 50 mpg in 2000-2002 FACT!! for a good mid size car, so why are all the vehicles
today gettting half that as averages?
Total bull --- if they want to get good gas mIieage they could implement it.. The automakers are bought and paid for. and told what to build to allow in the country. How did Volkswagen get away with it in 2000?
still adhering to strict environmental regulations?

August 29 2012 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MSmailbox

I worked at a GM plant for 8.8 years as a Communications Project Specialist (EDS - retired). During that period, I witnessed what CAFE standards did to the automobile and the industry. Unless you want to be driving a matchbox, baby-box, I urge that you reconsider this proposal. Simply eliminate the loan guarantees to Brazil (Petrobras) and cease the susidies to foreign oil drillers, which is insane for America to be doing. Why did George Soros invest an incredible amount in Petrobras (PBR)? Because he's inside and stands to make a ton more money, which is then "reinvested" into every Left-wing, anti-American interest from marijuana legaliztion (I was "inside" MPP, the Marijuana Policy Project, for 16 or 17 years; I still have a "lifetime membership"), to abortion funding, you name it, George wants to see America destroyed/"changed." Where all this hatred of God & Country comes from, is a mystery to me. Follow the money-trail and see who's behind all this garbage. Is it too late? Of course NOT! People are being brainwashed into believing that there's no hope. Well, I tell you a secret... There are tons of good, Christian/Jewish people who won't tolerate this kind of stuff, without dying for it. As Martin Luther King taught us, "non-violent civil disobedience" works equally well in stopping racism as it does socialism, communism and other contageous "isms." We've only begun to fight, you got that right!

August 28 2012 at 6:56 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Gas on January 20,2009 $1.89 gas today $3.77. More bull s--t slogans from the Obama machine, instead of things that really work. Obama = No hope, and no change.

August 28 2012 at 5:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply