WASHINGTON -- The White House on Tuesday finalized new fuel-efficiency standards for a generation of new automobiles, requiring car makers to boost fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The Obama administration said the new standards, made possible by 2007 legislation coauthored by Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts, would save Americans more than $1.7 trillion at the pump, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” the president said in a statement.
The White House asserted that the savings would be equivalent to saving $1 per gallon of gas.
The effort was first announced last year, after the administration won support from the country’s biggest automakers, unions, and environmental groups. In order to comply, the automakers will have to rev up research and design teams to produce cars that use lighter materials and engines that require less gas.
Sales for electric and hybrid vehicles have been on the rise, spurred by consumer demand.
“Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that use less gas, travel farther, and provide more efficiency for consumers than ever before—all while protecting the air we breathe and giving automakers the regulatory certainty to build the cars of the future here in America,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The country could cut in half its dependence on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which currently amounts to about 4.7 billion of barrels of oil a day. Greenhouse gas emissions could also be cut in half.
Markey took a jab at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney who, the Bay State Democrat said, opposes efforts to reduce global warming emissions.
“These historic fuel economy standards are creating jobs in the economy, saving drivers money and striking fear in the hearts of Middle Eastern oil sheiks,” Markey said. “But Governor Romney and congressional Republicans want to jeopardize our energy security by putting Big Oil in the driver’s seat of America’s energy agenda.”
Romney has criticized Obama for supporting green energy initiatives, opposing the Keystone oil pipeline that would funnel oil from Canada to the United States, and for blocking exploration and development of the country’s untapped energy reserves.