The era of gas-guzzling vehicles is finally rolling to a stop. New federal standards finalized this week will increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year.
These fuel efficiency standards have been in development since the summer of 2011, and involved input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the nation's major automakers, environmental groups, consumers and other stakeholders.
The EPA describes the new standards as "groundbreaking" and "historic." Aside from significantly lowering air pollution—thereby addressing climate change—the standards will save consumers trillions of dollars. Higher vehicle costs are expected to be offset by fuel savings. The EPA estimates the improved fuel efficiency of just one 2025 vehicle will save its owner more than $8,000 over the vehicle's lifetime, and effectively lower the per-gallon cost of gasoline by $1.00. The nation's oil consumption will drop by billions of barrels, dramatically lowering the dependence on foreign oil.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood praised the program, stating that it will produce "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.” Instituting the fuel efficiency standards is also expected to create more jobs in the U.S. auto industry.
The Pew Environment Group's Clean Energy Program has produced this informative infographic (below) illustrating how the new fuel efficiency standards will benefit national security, consumers and the environment.