Clean air lovers rejoice: Cars in the U.S. are going to get a lot more fuel efficient. Earlier today, President Obama -- along with automakers -- announced new fuel economy standards. As NPR reports, "The agreement pledges to double overall fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, bringing even greater under-the-hood changes to the nation's automobiles starting in model year 2017. Cars and trucks on the road today average 27 mpg."
How will automakers make sure their cars meet these greener standards? According to Sarah Laskow at Grist, "Car makers should be able to meet the program’s goals with existing technologies." Those already-tried tricks include hybrid technology, lightweight materials, and Prius-like engines that turn off when at a standstill.
What does mean for you? Expect to pay more for your car up front, but less at the gas pump later. From Laskow again:
Revamping cars with these technologies does cost money. The EPA estimates that it will cost $2,400 per vehicle to meet the yearly increase in efficiency. That means that anyone planning to buy a car will pay more at the point of sale. But because the cars will use less gas, consumers will fork over less cash at the gas pump. The hope is that those savings will more than make up for the cars’ higher sticker price. The White House is projecting that by 2025, a car owner will save $8,200 on gas, compared to a similar 2010 model.
And of course, the tougher standards mean less air pollution from cars -- and less greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Katie Waldeck at Care2 sounds enthusiastic: "The environment doesn’t make out too badly in the deal either — the standard is projected to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 6 billion metric tons."
That said, the 54.5 mpg by 2025 goal isn't written in stone. At the half way point between now and 2025, automakers will get a chance to reevaluate the new standards -- and possibly revamp them. As Be Car Chic puts it, "Only time will tell whether or not automakers, their dealers, and consumers will make this Administration’s fuel-efficient dream a reality."
What are your thoughts on the new fuel efficiency standards? Do you already drive an all electric car -- or fear carmakers will stop making your favorite SUV models?
BlogHer Green Section Editor Siel drives a 16-year-old 2-door Honda Civic that still gets great mileage and passed a smog test earlier this month with flying colors. She blogs at greenLAgirl.com.
Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia/Flickr
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