President Barack Obama took to a stage this morning in Washington D.C. to announce he’s reached a deal with automakers to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
CAFE standards were already reset in May of 2009, when President Obama mandated that the fuel economy average of an automaker’s product portfolio must reach 35.5 mpg by 2016. Today’s announcement is a continuation of that plan and also the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history.
Flanked by a Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Nissan Leaf, Kia Optima and a Ford F-150 EcoBoost, President Obama praised the “incredible commitment” by the automakers and the “spirit of compromise” that allowed the change to happen. And compromise is evident: by changing from the original target of 62 mpg to 54.5 mpg and allowing automakers to gain “credits” by implementing fuel-saving strategies, the government was able to gain support.
Pointing his rhetoric directly at Capitol Hill (as it works out the future of the government’s national debt), Obama said “this is what can happen when people put aside differences.”
The CAFE compromise arrived after a healthy amount of controversy. Automakers withstrong sales of are pickup trucks and SUVs resisted the idea, with some voicing their displeasure loudly. General Motors invited scorn recently by hiring lobbyists to resist the change, and Toyota only recently jumped onto the 54.5-mpg bandwagon.
But automakers weren’t the only ones concerned by the idea. Buoyed by a study from Ann Arbor, Michigan-based research firm the Center for Automotive Research, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers took out ads blasting the standards, saying it could add $10,000 to sticker prices everywhere. The United Auto Workers voiced its concerns that standards could ultimately mean lost jobs in an already tumultuous industry.
President Obama said at Friday’s event that the new standards will ultimately double new car fuel economy, which means it could “save a typical family $8000.” Multiply that figure, and Obama claims CAFE standards will reduce American dependence on oil by 2.2 million barrels per day, a savings of “$2 trillion over time.”
Source: White House