Obama Hanging Tough on Fuel Economy

Good news for the Mrs. Earth and Mr. Bill-Fold. Last Tuesday, President Obama announced new rules for the auto industry, forcing them to step up their commitment to fuel efficiency in their “fleets” to an average of 25 miles per gallon by 2016. Before we get too excited, consider the average fuel efficiency between a 48 mile/gallon vehicle (Prius!) and a 12 mile/gallon vehicle (think BIG and heavy), still achieves a 25 mile/gallon average. But, this is a giant step in the right direction.

As a point of reference, today’s hybrid SUV’s range from approximately 20-25 miles/gallon. There are, of course, exceptions like the Ford Hybrid that gets 34! (Go, Ford!) In comparison, the hybrid sedans range from 26-48 miles per gallon.

Besides the fact that we are still FAR behind Japan and the EU, CNN’s “Tough new car fuel economy rules” blog cited some other interesting points that Americans will be considering when buying cars in the near future, including:

1) Cost vs. savings. The White House says all the new rules — including some recently enacted — will increase the price of a car by a total of $1,300 per vehicle; but, that does not factor in the long term savings consumers could see at the gas pump. If more Americans start driving fuel-efficient cars over the long haul, that could ease demand on gasoline and keep prices down.

2) The environment. According to some, the United States consumes up to 10 percent of world oil output just driving their cars and trucks (including big-rigs transporting goods across the country). Obama argues that more fuel efficient cars on the road will make a dent in carbon emission in this country.

3) Energy security. Obama has even couched his tougher rules in national security terms, because America’s growing dependence on imported oil has become such a burning issue in Washington.

Posted by: Katie

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