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Environmental groups say new fuel economy standards will reduce US oil dependence and air pollution

From Green Right Now Reports New gasoline standards for cars and light trucks set by the US Department of Transportation and the US EPA won final approval on Tuesday after...

From Green Right Now Reports

New gasoline standards for cars and light trucks set by the US Department of Transportation and the US EPA won final approval on Tuesday after several months of public review and hearings.

Ford Fiesta, one of the many new gas-efficient models being produced by American automakers, gets nearly 40 mpg.

The new mileage standards will require that American cars get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The EPA touted the change as a near doubling of fuel efficiency for cars, and predicted the effect on consumers would be like lowering the price of gasoline by $1 a gallon. Overall, the measure will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels, according to the EPA.

Last year, 13 major automakers, accounting for the vast majority of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards. The National Auto Dealers Association, however, warned that the billions in anticipated fuel savings would be partly offset by an anticipated $3000 higher price tag for cars meeting the new standard, which will be staged in beginning in 2017.

Environmental groups praised the change as much needed to curb climate change and an effective way to reduce American oil dependence. A sampling of their statements, with details about the new standards, below:

The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment

“The signatory Presidents of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) welcomed the action today by the federal government to establish new fuel efficiency standards for model years 2017 to 2025, ” said Tim White, chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, and chair of the Steering Committee of the ACUPCC.

“More than 650 college university presidents have worked together for the last five years to help craft solutions to counteract the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects. They recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely caused by humans. And they recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

“Sound national policy, based on the best science, is essential to the cost-effective reduction of human caused greenhouse gases — the dominant cause of the climate change we have experienced over the last 50 years. This  action makes it far easier for the colleges and universities of the ACUPCC to meet their commitments to achieve climate neutrality.

“This action is based on both sound science and common sense, as well as good economics. For example, schools will save about $8000 in fuel costs over the life of every vehicle purchased beginning in 2025. ”

The Natural Resources Defense Council

“Everybody is a winner today,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the NRDC on Tuesday (Aug. 28).

“Motorists win because they will have much more fuel-efficient cars to drive, thus saving thousands of dollars at the gas pump every year.

“The auto industry—and its workers–win because these standards will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs as well as state-of-the-art vehicles that go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gasoline.

“Everybody wins because using less gasoline will reduce our dependence on oil and lead to cleaner air. Less pollution means a healthier populace and lower medical bills. That’s great for our economy.

“These new standards, moreover, will reduce carbon pollution that drives climate change. That’s a win for everybody around the world—and a very big win for future generations.

League of Conservation Voters

“We just won a major victory: The Obama administration has finalized new fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards that will raise the average gas mileage on cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025,” wrote LCV president Gene Karpinski to league members.

“Simply put, this is the single biggest thing the United States government has ever done to reduce global warming pollution.

“This year, more than 35,000 LCV activists like you spoke out in support of stronger fuel and emissions standards and the Obama administration responded by creating a standard that will cut the amount of global warming pollution from our tailpipes in half, save you money at the pump, and create thousands of jobs.”

GM's Volt, an EV that already consumes only a small amount of gasoline to extend its range.

Car dealers offer support, but with caution

Not everyone was completely confident that the new rules will be universally positive.

The National  Automobile Dealers Association released a statement supporting the changes, but reiterating its concern that the new rules will raise the price of cars.

National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

“America’s new car dealers support continuous fuel economy increases. NADA remains concerned that model year 2017-2025 mandates, coupled with previous Obama administration fuel economy regulations, will hike the average price of a new vehicle by nearly $3,000 when fully implemented. This increase shuts almost 7 million people out of the new car market entirely and prevents many millions more from being able to afford new vehicles that meet their needs. If this rule suppresses new vehicle sales, achieving the nation’s greenhouse gas and energy security goals will be needlessly delayed. Auto dealers will continue the important work of helping consumers meet their transportation needs, despite being shackled by the cost increases under this rule. As this rule ignores the essential role that consumers play, Congress needs to continue to review these regulations to ensure that affordable vehicles are available to all Americans.”




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