Cleaner Cars Ahead

On Friday, July 29, President Obama announced a historic agreement with 13 major automakers to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. The President was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo—which together account for over 90% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. “This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.”

Cars and trucks on the road today average 27mpg and with gas spiking to record high prices this year, Americans are paying more at the pump than ever.

“American consumers are calling for cleaner cars that won’t pollute their air or break their budgets at the gas pump, and our innovative American automakers are responding with plans for some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in our history,” said U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson.

For American families, the president said the agreement will mean filling up the car every two weeks, instead of every week. The White House estimates that a family purchasing a new vehicle in 2025 will save $8,200 in fuel costs when compared with a similar vehicle in 2010. They also project that U.S. oil consumption from vehicles will be reduced by 40% and only half of the current amount of greenhouse gas pollution will come from exhausts in the future.

In April, The American Lung Association released their State of the Air report, which called on the EPA to “set new pollution standards for cars, light trucks, SUVs and gasoline fuels to reduce nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particle pollution emissions”. They noted that “Science shows that people who live or work near highways or busy roads bear a disproportion¬ate health burden from air pollution… Cleaner cars will help reduce this impact for all, but especially those who live closest to the traffic.” Half of the vehicles that will comply with Obama’s new 2025 fuel standards will be gas-electric hybrids, with electric vehicles making up about 10% of the fleet. Currently hybrid and electric vehicles combined amount to less than 3% of U.S. vehicle sales.

“These standards will help spur economic growth, protect the environment, and strengthen our national security by reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Working together, we are setting the stage for a new generation of clean vehicles.”