Obama Finalizes Landmark Fuel Efficiency Standards

Obama fuel efficiency standards require 55 miles to the gallon by 2025.
Photo: Getty Images
Aug 28, 2012
writes about environment and energy for the NYT, Popular Science, OnEarth Magazine, and more.

As Republicans gather in Tampa, despite an imminent hurricane, to officially nominate a presidential candidate who remains mute on climate change and its potential to flood convention centers in low-lying areas, President Obama has finalized landmark new fuel-efficiency standards that will cut tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025.

The Obama fuel efficiency standard will require cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon, or approximately double the average mileage of cars on the road today, over the next 13 years.

This is the third time Obama has raised fuel economy standards, building upon the 2009 goal of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The action cements the administration's commitment to reducing America's dependency on oil as part of Obama's national energy policy.

RELATED: Will Obama and Romney Talk About Climate Change During the Presidential Debate?

Romney's campaign was quick to respond to the announcement, highlighting the sharp contrast between the two candidates when it comes to their respective plans for powering the nation.

"Governor Romney opposes the extreme standards that President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices available to American families. The President tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump, but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a statement.

While the Administration doesn't deny that the Obama fuel efficiency standards will increase the cost of a new car, perhaps by as much as $2,000, the White House argues that the $8,000 a new car owner is forecast to save over the life of the car should more than compensate for a higher price sticker at the car dealership.

“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” President Obama said in a statement Tuesday. “It’ll strengthen our nation's energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”

The nation's biggest and most influential green groups have been outspoken in their support of Obama's efforts.

Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America, said that "Decades from now, the clean car standards finalized today by the Obama Administration will be highlighted as a monumental turning point in America’s quest to get off oil and tackle global warming."

Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune, said "Today, President Obama has taken the most significant action by any President in history to move our country off oil and slash dangerous, climate disrupting pollution that threatens our children’s future."

Will we be able to meet Obama's fuel efficiency standard? Share your thoughts in the Comments

More on politics and the environment:

Al Gore on Summer 2012’s Extreme Weather: ‘Like a Nature Hike Through the Book of Revelation’

Romney Reveals Energy Policy, Doesn’t Mention Climate Change Once

Will Jay Inslee Be the Greenest Governor in America?

Show Comments ()

More on TakePart

John Besh: Why I Take Part in Rebuilding New Orleans