Environment
3:31 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Federal Government Unveils New Stricter Fuel Standards for Cars, Small Trucks

The Obama Administration has announced new fuel economy standards for cars and small trucks that will go into effect in five years.

Starting in 2017, cars and light trucks will have to be more fuel efficient than they are now. By 2025, the average car’s fuel economy will be 54.5 miles per gallon.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the program will allow consumers to pick a car that meets their needs, but also give them a choice of greater fuel efficiency. She says the program will have a huge effect on reducing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.

“This is about six billion tons of CO2,” she said. “It’s as though we’ve eliminated our CO2 emissions for one year…I think our emissions are just slightly over that.”

Gloria Bergquist is a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The trade association represents most of the major automakers doing business in America. 

“We had asked for certainty because this is such a long-term industry and it can take five or ten years to bring a new technology to market,” she said. “So when we had conflicting requirements with different timelines, it was really difficult. So we have welcomed the long-term certainty, even knowing that it’s going to be a steep uphill climb.”

The new standard doesn’t mean it won’t be possible to buy gas-guzzling cars and trucks anymore. But the cars sold by each manufacturer will have to average out to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, so they’ll have to sell a lot of very fuel-efficient models.