By RYAN TRACY
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Tuesday will make
final new fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars, pickup
trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
The final rule will set an average fuel economy requirement
of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 for each auto makers
fleet, the same level the administration initially proposed in
That standard had been expected after the Obama
administration negotiated the details with auto makers and
other stakeholders last year.
These fuel standards represent the single most
important step we've ever taken to reduce our dependence on
foreign oil, said President Barack Obama in a statement
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."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he
opposes the standards set by the Obama administration, though
he has stopped short of saying he is against fuel-economy
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said last week:
Governor Romney opposes the extreme standards that
President Obama has imposed, which will limit the choices
available to American families.
The administration estimated that as a result of the
standards, an average family would save more than $8,000 by
2025 on fuel costs at current gasoline prices, while the cost
of a vehicle would rise as much as $1,800.
The fuel savings will more than make up for any
increase in the cost of an automobile, Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood said on a conference call with
We are raising the bar and ensuring that Americans are
preparing for fluctuations in gas prices. We are also giving
manufacturers the regulatory certainty they need to build more
The auto industry has favored national standards for years
to avoid having to comply with different laws in different
But the industrys main trade group sounded a
cautionary note on Tuesday. Gloria Bergquist, vice president
for public affairs at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers,
said that the new standards would be difficult to meet without
infrastructure to support them, such as electric-vehicle
charging stations or refueling stations for gasoline
alternatives like natural
gas and more efficient diesel fuel.
Just a mandate to build the vehicles may well fall
short, Ms. Bergquist said in an interview. If we
really want to reduce fuel use, we need to develop the fuels,
the charging stations, and the technology at the same
The White House said the standards include targeted
incentives for more advanced electric vehicles, hybrids,
natural-gas vehicles, and other alternative vehicles.
It left the door open to making adjustments, saying the
Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of
Transportation may revisit the standards after they take effect
to review their effectiveness and make any needed
The standards finalized Tuesday cover vehicles with model
years 2017 to 2025. A separate rule boosts fleet fuel economy
to 35.5 miles per gallon by the 2016 model year.
The rules will require fuel-economy improvements sooner for
passenger cars, allowing more time for changes to the
sport-utility vehicles and pickups.
Asian auto makers' fleets are dominated by passenger cars,
while Detroit auto makers rely more heavily on pickups and SUVs
for their profits.
The standards also include a limit on carbon dioxide
emissions, which are linked to climate change. The EPA said the
rules would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other
so-called greenhouse gases by six billion metric tons through
It is as though we eliminated all of our [carbon
dioxide] emissions for one year, said EPA Administrator
Lisa Jackson. It is indeed very significant.
Environmentalists praised the standards. Our nation
will be more secure, our environment will be cleaner, and
consumers will have more money in their pockets as a result of
the new rule, said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the clean
energy program at the Pew Environment Group, in a
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