Feds tout gas mileage regulations for Earth Day

Feds tout gas mileage regulations for Earth Day
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The Department of Transportation is touting new rules for automobile fuel efficiency as its contribution to Earth Day as the environmental celebration approaches on Wednesday. 

Deputy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Chief David Friedman said in a blog post on the Transportation Department’s website that new rules that were put in place by the Obama administration requiring automakers to produce cars that achieve 54.5 miles per gallon requirement by 2025 will greatly help reduce the amount of carbon emission in the U.S. 

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“At NHTSA, we’ve taken up President Obama’s call to confront the climate crisis,” he wrote. “Working with our partners at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we’ve set fuel efficiency standards for cars, light trucks, and heavy duty vehicles that will greatly reduce transportation-related carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change. We’ve also worked to make healthier and environmentally friendly transportation options, such as biking and walking, more attractive to more Americans by making them safer.” 

Critics have argued the new emission requirement will make cars more expensive to purchase, but Friedman said the new rules will save drivers money on gas in addition to make the environment cleaner. 

“The simple fact is that cars, light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, such as the 18-wheelers we see on the highway, are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all transportation-related carbon emissions,” he wrote. 

“That’s why NHTSA announced Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 2010 and 2012 for cars and light trucks that will lead to a near doubling in new vehicle fuel economy by 2025,” Friedman continued. “Higher fuel economy means you’re traveling farther on less fuel —and that of course means your vehicle is putting less carbon pollution into the air and keeping more money in your wallet. The higher fuel economy standards we established will deliver savings of more than $8,000 in fuel costs for the average driver while eliminating six billion metric tons of carbon pollution, which is more than the U.S. emits in an entire year.” 

The auto industry has generally supported the fuel efficiency requirement, arguing that having a national standard is better than having differing state rules. States such as California had previously implemented their own standards for gas mileage, and others large states have tried to follow suit.

The mileage standard has also been cheered by environmentalists, who have pushed for the measures to reduce pollution from automobiles.

Under the new rules, which were finalized by the Obama administration last month, automakers will have to begin producing cars that achieve higher miles per gallon as early as 2017. The requirement will gradually increase annually until it reaches 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.

Friedman said the highway safety administration is hosting an “Advanced Fuel-Efficiency Vehicle Showcase” at the Transportation Department’s headquarters in Washington on Tuesday to mark Earth Day. 

“Leading manufacturers will display vehicles that save consumers money at the pump and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he wrote. “Many of these vehicles are available now because the Obama administration and NHTSA fought to raise fuel economy standards for the cars and light trucks we drive every day.”