Obama's 54.5 MPG Standards Will Curb Dangerous Pollution and Put Americans to Work

President Obama has delivered another victory for clean energy innovation. Today his administration moved forward with new standards for cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks that will almost double vehicle miles per gallon to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

These new standards demonstrate the president’s commitment to a clean energy future. Like the recent decision to send the Keystone XL pipeline back to the drawing board, they will put America on the road to recovery from its oil addiction.

Within 20 years, better-performing cars will save drivers more than $80 billion a year at the pump while cutting our oil use by more than we imported from Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 2010.

They also represent America’s boldest response yet to climate change: these standards will cut vehicle emissions of carbon pollution in half by 2025 compared to today. Together with the Obama administration’s recent first step forward to curb carbon pollution from new power plants, the clean car standards will make the air safer to breathe and reduce the threat of extreme weather events that have pounded the nation in recent months.

The benefits of clean air, healthy families, and a stable climate will be built on American innovation.

Drivers are demanding better performance. Consumer Reports just released a poll on Monday that found 80 percent of consumers agreed that “fuel economy standards should require auto manufacturers to increase the overall fleet average to at least 55 miles per gallon by 2025.”

Standards provide something consumer trends cannot: long-term certainty. They tell car manufacturers exactly what goal they need to reach by when, so they can invest in innovation and deploy cleaner technology on a steady basis. Now U.S. automakers are turning their engineering prowess to fuel efficiency, and the results have helped revive Detroit and returned American models to the forefront of the market.

They have also put Americans to work. More 150,000 Americans currently have jobs making parts for and assembling clean cars—hybrids, electric cars, and other advanced vehicles that weren’t available 10 years ago

That’s why the car industry, labor unions, and the environmental community are united in our support for President Obama’s clean car standards.

Some GOP leaders, however, want to block these standards—even though all major stakeholders worked together to design and agree upon them. These lawmakers are so consumed with anti-government fervor they would actually get in the way of standards that save money, create jobs, and clean up our air just because the White House initiated them.

I applaud President Obama’s decision to put the interests of the American people ahead of polluters and their anti-regulatory allies in Congress.

In the coming months, NRDC will ensure special interests do not undermine America’s bid to build the cars of the 21st century. And we encourage you to write to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation in favor of these standards. Together, we can support President Obama’s commitment to a clean energy future and to champion the clean car standards that will help unleash it.