The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announced new, stronger fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks that they say “can’t wait”.
The new fuel economy and pollution standards covering model years 2017-2025 are equivalent to increasing the fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg and will reduce oil consumption by an estimated 4 million barrels and reduce emissions by 2 billion metric tons.
The Obama Administration’s programme of improving fuel economy standards, which aims to address the emissions from cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks that make up 60% of the country’s transport emissions, should ultimately reduce US oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels of oil a day.
The improvement will almost double the standard set in the first phase of the programme, covering model years 2012-2016, which stands at 35.5 mpg by 2016.
Drivers should also notice the difference, saving an average of over $8000 per vehicle in fuel costs by 2025, totting up total savings of around $1.7 trillion.
“By setting a course for steady improvements in fuel economy over the long term, the Obama Administration is ensuring that American car buyers have their choice of the most efficient vehicles ever produced in our country,” says EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that the standards are “unprecedented” and represent a “remarkable leap forward” in improved fuel efficiency.
A number of carmakers, including General Motors, Ford, Fiat, Toyota and Honda have signed up to the fuel standards, which will require an average 5% annual improvement in efficiency, but the target may prove more tricky for heavy truck producers.
Ahead of the new standards, some 2012 model vehicles will start displaying an updated fuel economy and environmental label that includes information on annual and five-year fuel costs, savings compared with an average vehicle and a greenhouse gas emission rating.
The labels are mandatory for 2013 models, but many carmakers say that they will voluntarily adopt the system for vehicles produced next year.
For further information:
Stop-start for transport policy at US Department of Energy (29-Sept)
Obama unveils fuel efficiency standards for trucks and buses (10-Aug)
Obama unveils next phase of US fuel efficiency standards (1-Aug)
17 November 2011