Not long ago, the Obama Administration raised the federal fuel efficiency standards, known as CAFE, to an average 35.5 mpg by 2016. Yesterday, they announced the CAFE were being raised again to historically high levels. For model year 2025, the average fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks will be set at 54.5 mpg. This will mean a nearly doubling of fuel efficiency compared to cars that are on the road today. The new policy was issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They claim it will reduce US oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and save over $1.7 trillion at the pump over the life of the program.
"These fuel standards represent the single most important step we've ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said President Obama. "This historic agreement builds on the progress we've already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption. By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It'll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it's good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last."
The new standards will encourage and perhaps require innovation and additional investment in advanced technologies for the auto industry. Many of these technologies are already available, such as plug-in hybrids and continuous variable transmission. It is likely that by 2025, electric cars may be the dominant vehicle being sold.
The DOT national Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA developed the new CAFE standard in conjunction with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer advocates, environmental and energy experts, state governments, and the public at large.
Thirteen of the largest automakers, responsible for the sale of 90 percent of vehicles sold in America, have already pledged their support. The alignment of federal and state standards for fuel efficiency has created the regulatory certainty that is required to make significant investments into clean innovative technologies.
Government analysts predict that the higher fuel efficiency will save $8,000 over the life of each vehicle. The savings will be comparable with lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon.
They claim the new standards will also dramatically cut the import of foreign oil by 2 million barrels per day by 2025. This is roughly equivalent to half the oil we currently import from OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia each day.
By. David Gabel