Paving the way for the cars of the future

ADVERTISEMENT
Today the American auto industry is thriving, and building some of the most innovative and fuel-efficient cars ever produced. American drivers are saving thousands of dollars at the pump, and the industry has added nearly 250,000 since June of 2009. 



This week the Obama Administration took another historic step to ensure that American vehicles increase fuel economy and save drivers money for years to come. A final rule issued by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency sets standards that, by 2025, will raise fuel economy in passenger cars and light-duty trucks to meet the equivalent of 54.5 mpg – a standard that, when combined with earlier Obama Administration efforts, nearly doubles the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles, and cuts in half the greenhouse gas emissions compared to vehicles already on the roads.



As manufacturers produce more efficient cars and trucks, America’s families will spend less of their hard-earned dollars at the pump and the nation will make significant strides toward protecting the air we breathe. The standards set today, when combined with the Administration’s previous actions to improve fuel economy, will mean over $1.7 trillion in fuel savings for consumers, or more than $8,000 on average over the life of a model year 2025 vehicle. At the same time, we will reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. By 2025, these efforts will enable us to cut our oil consumption by over 2 million barrels per day—enough to offset approximately 25 percent of the foreign oil we import now.

By providing manufacturers with long-term regulatory certainty, the standards set today provide a foundation for automakers to invest in fuel-saving technologies. Unlike past efforts to improve fuel economy which resulted in a focus on smaller vehicles to meet federal efficiency targets, the new standards ensure there will be improvements across all vehicle types. Manufacturers can build a range of vehicle types to meet these standards that are both safe and efficient. That means our nation’s families will have the option of buying the kind of vehicle they want—whether it’s a truck, SUV, or sedan, and still enjoy more fuel economy and less pollution. The cars of the future will continue to come in a variety of sizes and designs; they will simply be more energy efficient and save consumers more at the pump. 



We engaged the auto industry and other key stakeholders to develop these standards, so we know many of the tools and technologies needed to meet these goals already exist. But we also expect the standards to spark continued innovation, and ensure that the cars of the future are built here in America. By setting standards for MY 2017-2025 vehicles, we are giving automakers the regulatory certainty they need to plan and produce fuel-efficient vehicles in demand by drivers today and far into the future. It’s no wonder 13 major automotive manufacturers, who build 90 percent of the cars sold in the United States, have expressed support for the framework of these standards. 



Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that provide more efficiency for drivers than ever before – all while protecting the air we breathe and laying the groundwork for automakers to create jobs, develop advanced technologies, and improve quality of life for American families.
 
LaHood is secretary of Transportation. Jackson is administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.