Entries in fuel efficiency standards (2)


New Fuel-Efficiency Standards: What They Mean to You

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Forget 34.5 miles per gallon.  Come the year 2025, cars and light-duty trucks will be required to get 54.5 mpg under new standards announced by the Obama administration on Tuesday.

So what does it mean for you besides fewer trips to the gas station?  Advocates say two things: savings and jobs.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a nonprofit organization, consumers can expect to save $8,000 over the life of a 2025 car versus one on the road today.  Those savings, according to the administration, would be the equivalent of lowering gas prices by $1 per gallon.

A study published in June by the Blue Green Alliance, a group of 14 unions and environmental organizations, found that the changes (at the time proposed) in mpg would lead to 570,000 more American jobs, with 50,000 new jobs by 2030 in light-duty vehicle manufacturing and assembly alone.

The UCS added that the changes will also cut oil use by 3.1 million barrels per day by 2030 -- an amount equivalent to what the U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela combined.  It also said that in the effort to control carbon dioxide build up blamed for global warming, it would be the equivalent of taking a third of today's cars and trucks off the road for a year.

"If you are against these common-sense standards, you are against saving consumers money, against consumer choice, and for leaving our economy open to being crippled yet again by our expensive oil use," said Michelle Robinson, director of UCS's Clean Vehicles program.

Following Tuesday's announcement, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said "everybody is a winner today."

"Motorists win because they will have much more fuel-efficient cars to drive, thus saving thousands of dollars at the gas pump every year," Beinecke said in a statement to ABC News.  "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."

The standards -- being touted as "historic" by the White House -- issued by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency build upon previous requirements to raise fuel efficiency by 2016 to 35.5 mpg.

The standards are also supported by 13 major automakers, which account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, though, said it had "mixed emotions" about the new standards.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Automakers Concerned About New Fuel Efficiency Standards

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Past consumer behavior has the auto industry reacting with “mixed emotions” to Tuesday’s Obama administration announcement of new fuel efficiency standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025, Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told ABC News.

At a campaign event in Ames, Iowa, President Obama heralded the new announcement, telling a crowd of students that “we developed new fuel standards, developed new fuel standards so that your car will get nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That’s going to save you money at the pump. That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a level roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of emissions from all the cars in the world.”

Environmental groups also cheered, with the Union of Concerned Scientists claiming that the standards will save consumers nearly $8,000 over the lifetime of the new 2025 vehicles, while reducing “global warming emissions by as much as 270 million metric tons in 2030–the equivalent of shutting down 65 coal-fired power plants for one year.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers issued a statement expressing some support. Bergquist said that members of her association -- which includes not just American auto manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation but also importers such as BMW Group and Toyota -- are happy for the singular standard issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fuel efficient vehicles are already available in many instances, Bergquist said. “Consumers need to buy them. If they don’t we may well fall short” of the goals necessary for today’s standards to actually be feasible.

In addition to consumers buying fuel efficient vehicles in greater numbers, she said, clean diesel needs to become more available – it’s only in roughly half of U.S. service stations – as do charging stations. Half of new vehicles sold in Europe use clean diesel, she said, while in the U.S. that number is closer to two percent. Anecdotally, automakers are told by consumers that they would be more willing to buy clean diesel vehicles if the fuel were more widespread. “We see the same thing with electric vehicles,” she said.

For that reason, the automakers say they’re glad that the new rule includes an April 2018 “mid-term evaluation” where the government can thoroughly review marketplace conditions. “Our first choice is we want to sell them in high volumes,” she said, “but if that doesn’t happen for some reason we need to address that sooner rather than later so we can see what needs to be done to encourage consumers.”

The biggest driver of consumer behavior when it comes to cars “ultimately goes to the question of ‘What’s the price of gasoline?’” she said. “In Europe, the price is eight dollars a gallon and consumers are driving different vehicles.”

While noting that the financial industry underlines that past experience does not necessarily predict future success, Bergquist noted that hybrid vehicles have been on the market for approximately a decade, and today constitute only 2- 2.5% of vehicle sales in the U.S.

The new standards are “very, very challenging,” she said, while underlining, “we understand the need for greater energy security.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio