9 August 2011: New US fuel efficiency standard

President Obama has unveiled a new US fuel efficiency standard (The White House: President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard). In making the announcement, he stressed the energy security and economic advantages:

This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The standard is 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. This isn’t good enough, of course, and not as ambitious as the European target, which is 65 miles per gallon by 2020. (Vehicles driven in Europe are already more fuel efficient on average than vehicles driven in America, due to much higher fuel prices.) However, the president has done well to secure the agreement at a time of such economic difficulty. He was joined at the announcement by people from Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo, which together account for over 90% of all vehicles sold in the US.

He was also joined by the United Auto Workers and Californian government. The White House press release states that the agreement will:

… reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day.

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