The Supply Post: Canada's #1 Heavy Construction Equipment & Commercial Truck Newspaper Since 1971

New Fuel Standards Released


Oct 3, 2012 - 6 years ago

By Supply Post

increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads. According to the Department of Transportation, the program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

The standards issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) build on the the Administration’s standards for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016. Those standards raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg.

The final standards were developed by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public. Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards.

The administration’s combined efforts represent the first significant update to fuel efficiency standards in decades. Together, the U.S DOT says, they will save American families more than $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, resulting in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. For families purchasing a model Year 2025 vehicle, the net savings will be comparable to lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon. Additionally, these programs will dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign oil, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil and reducing oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025 – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC each day.

According to the DOT, the standards also represent historic progress to reduce carbon pollution and address climate change. Combined, the Administration’s standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010.

President Obama announced the proposed standard in July 2011, joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, as well as the United Auto Workers. The State of California and other key stakeholders also supported the announcement and were integral in developing this national program.

In achieving these new standards, EPA and NHTSA expect automakers to use a range of efficient and advanced technologies to transform the vehicle fleet. The standards issued provide for a mid-term evaluation to allow the agencies to review their effectiveness and make any needed adjustments.

Major auto manufacturers are already developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards. In addition, a wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems. The program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including:
• Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles,
• Incentives for hybrid technologies for large pickups and for other technologies that achieve high fuel economy levels on large pickups,
• Incentives for natural gas vehicles,
• Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.

While increasing fuel economy is a laudable goal, by reducing per mile fuel consumption, the new standards will put additional pressure on the Highway Trust Fund. Gas tax and other highway user fees paid into the HTF are already insufficient to sustain current federal highway investment levels. AED is therefore urging Congress and the president to create additional HTF user fee revenues as part of the upcoming tax and budget reform debate.

News Archive