DOT, EPA Approve Fuel Efficiency Standards

Earlier today the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency approved a national standard regulating greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy figures.

“These historic new standards set ambitious, but achievable, fuel economy requirements for the automotive industry that will also encourage new and emerging technologies,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will be helping American motorists save money at the pump, while putting less pollution in the air.”

The initiative is a direct response to President Obama’s 2016 CAFE standards, which require an automaker’s average fuel economy to be at least 35.5 mpg. Supposedly the ruling will save U.S. consumers $3000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle, but vehicles will become more expensive in order to meet the regulations. Collaboration among DOT, EPA, and California state standards will now be possible, making things easier for manufacturers. The ruling mandates all manufacturers selling vehicles in the U.S. to have a combined vehicle emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. Manufacturers must lower their fleet-wide fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent each year leading up to 2016.

The implementation of the program will reduce CO2 emissions by 960 metric tons, the equivalent of removing 50 million vehicles from U.S. roads. Roughly 1.8 billion barrels of oil will be saved over the lifetime of the regulated vehicles. Although technology costs to implement the higher averages may drive vehicle prices up, consumers will supposedly recoup the cost in fuel savings.

“These are the first national standards ever to address climate change,” said Gina McCarthy, the EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation. “Over the coming years, America will witness an amazing leap forward in vehicle technologies, delivering fuel efficiency that will save us money and protect the environment.”

The government expects automakers to achieve the standards with the combined use of more efficient engines and transmissions, low rolling resistance tires, improved aerodynamics, and revised air conditioning systems. Hybrids, diesels, and electric vehicles are expected to become more widespread to help automakers achieve the mandate.

Source: Department of Transportation

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