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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Obama's Plan For Improved Gas Mileage is Delayed

Environmental Leader reports that the new U.S. gas mileage standards for cars was supposed to be released on August 15th, but it has been delayed. The final rule will make it mandatory for car manufacturers to raise the average fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo — which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States — as well as the United Auto Workers and the state of California, all signed onto this agreement.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will cost the auto industry about $157.3 billion, according to the Detroit News. It will also cut more than 6 billion tons of carbon emissions for the duration of the program. The new standard will save consumers $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and by 2025, result in an average fuel savings of over $8,000 per vehicle.

The Obama administration expects the new standards will reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025. NHTSA says that’s as much as half the oil the U.S. imports from OPEC every day. There are several reasons why better fuel standards are badly needed in the United States. The prime concern is, of course, from an environmental point of view. However, fuel economy also means less dependence on foreign imports.

At the announcement of the new standards, President Obama said, "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 interim goal requires auto makers to achieve 35.5 mpg by 2016 and to meet the new targets, auto makers will have to cut weight from their vehicles, develop smaller engines and boost fuel efficiency through direct injection, start-stop technology and turbochargers. Although this means more effort and money spent on research and development, the majority of the automakers are on board with the new standards.

America is one of the developed nations that has very poor standards for fuel economy, especially when compared to countries in Europe. Most European cities not only have strict fuel regulations but also better public transport which helps to keep their emissions on the lower side. This new standard will be part of the comprehensive energy plan that the Obama administration has been trying to work on since Day One.


Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

Read more stories by Akhila Vijayaraghavan