White House to boost fuel economy standards

The average car fuel economy will nearly double by 2025 to almost 55 miles per gallon, President Obama announced July 29 at a White House gathering that included both auto company executives and UAW representatives.

The President said that higher fuel efficiency standards are part of his energy policy, which aims to decrease dependence on oil, to help Americans save money on gas and to reduce pollution caused by auto emissions.

The rise in fuel efficiency standards will mean big savings at the pump, the president said. "Think about what this means. It means that filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week. It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time."

In the subsequent 15 years, oil usage would be reduced by more than 2 million barrels per day and reduce oil imports by one-third.

Less oil usage "means we're reducing the carbon pollution that threatens our climate," he added.

President Obama explained that his goal is to combine reduced oil consumption with new incentives for renewable energy sources and an end to special tax subsidies for oil companies.

In separate remarks, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said, "American consumers are calling for cleaner cars that won't pollute their air or break their budgets at the gas pump, and our innovative American automakers are responding with plans for some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in our history."

The administration's announcement won praise from environmental groups, despite the fact that they favored an average fuel economy standard of 60 mpg.

"After decades of inaction and stagnation," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director, "President Obama has ensured 15 years of continuous progress to help cut our dangerous addiction to oil, create American jobs, save families money at the pump, curb life-threatening pollution and tackle climate disruption."

"Today's announcement is a win for everyone," he said.

Brune warned, however, that the administration should avoid creating new loopholes or exceptions that weaken the standard as it is finalized this fall.

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