Administration's Proposed Fuel Efficiency Plan Shows Promise

Here's our press statement on today's annoucement:

Pushing Cars to Cut Emissions and Reach 62 miles per gallon Will Create Jobs and Spur Innovation

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2010) –  New cars and light trucks would need to cut carbon dioxide emissions and achieve fuel efficiency standards equivalent to at least 47 miles per gallon and as high as 62 miles per gallon by 2025 based on a proposed 3 to 6 percent rate of emissions improvement starting in 2017, according to a briefing today by administration officials. Last May, President Obama directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to develop a joint proposal for the next round of standards by September 30th.

Natural Resources Defense Council’s Transportation Program Director Roland Hwang said the higher standard will lead to greater reductions in harmful emissions while making the U.S. auto industry more competitive and increasing the number of high-quality manufacturing jobs. 

“The Obama Administration is on the right path in recognizing the need to use the Clean Air Act to improve emission efficiency standards, but it should pursue the best option possible,” Hwang said. “The problem with setting the bar at just a 3 percent improvement per year is that it puts the U.S. auto industry on a path towards mediocrity. A 6 percent improvement, which translates into a roughly a 62 miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard, will really encourage innovative ideas, create more jobs, and do more to put the country’s auto industry back in a leadership role. But beyond the jobs and economic benefits, a stronger standard will help break our crippling dependence on oil.”

NRDC, along with 18 other environmental and scientist groups, wants the administration to adopt an approach that will steadily increase fuel economy standards to at least 60 mpg by 2025.  Today’s announcement is the first step in a lengthy regulatory process before a final rule is adopted in July 2012.

“The U.S. government bailed out Detroit; American taxpayers now deserve the biggest possible return on their investment,” said Luke Tonachel, NRDC vehicles analyst in New York.  “Raising fuel economy to 62 miles per gallon will result in twice as much oil savings and carbon pollution reductions as 47 miles per gallon. A 62 miles-per-gallon standard would save drivers $100 billion, save 45 billion gallons of oil, and reduce carbon pollution by 450 million metric tons by 2030.”