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White House Locks Down 54.5 MPG Fuel Economy Standard

“Single most important step” to reduce dependence on foreign oil, says President.

by on Aug.28, 2012

The new mileage standards appear to have solid public support -- especially as gas prices resume their upwards surge.

Bouncing back from an unexpected delay, the Obama Administration today formalized a more than 50% increase in federal automotive fuel economy standards.

Even with automakers struggling to meet the 2016 Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, target of 35.5 miles per gallon, the industry will now face a 54.5 mpg goal for 2025.  That figure is the result of extensive debate between industry, environmentalists and government regulators.

But there had been questions raised, earlier this month, when the White House unexpectedly delayed the release of the official rules.  The 2025 CAFE proposal, like much of Pres. Barack Obama’s energy policy, had come under fire from a Republican party set to formalize Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee this week.

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“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” the President declared in a statement accompany the release of the new mileage regulations.

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Three in Four Motorists Ready to “Consider” Alt-Fuel Vehicles

New study confirms fuel economy now the most important factor for U.S. car buyers.

by on May.22, 2012

Motorists say they're very open to alternative powertrain technology. Will that bode well for the new Toyota RAV4-EV?

This year’s near-record run-up in fuel prices has clearly had an impact on the choices American motorists are making when it’s time to buy a new vehicle – in fact, three in four U.S. drivers now say they’re ready to consider an alternative-fuel vehicle, according to a new study.

While many motorists still aren’t ready to trade in their roomy SUVs for high-mileage subcompacts — at least if recent sales are considered — there’s little doubt that there are significant changes underway in the American car market, with fuel economy now a much more important factor than vehicle quality or safety, according to research by the non-profit Consumer Reports.

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“These results make it clear that high fuel prices are continuing to impact driver behavior and influencing future purchase considerations,” said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy auto editor. “While quality, safety and value are still important, this may be foreshadowing a market shift by folks seeking relief at the pump.”

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Reports Says Obama’s Fuel Economy Increase to Save $69 bil Annually

NRDC notes surge in high-mileage models already on the road.

by on Apr.20, 2012

With its high-mileage EcoBoost engine, a new study says the 2012 Ford Explorer is already savings owners $1000s on gas.

The recently-enacted 54.5 mile per gallon fuel economy standards will save American motorists an estimated $69 billion annually, according to a new report that suggests the Obama Administration’s push for improved fuel economy is already saving many drivers thousands of dollars.

With a big jump in fuel economy scheduled for 2016 and another by 2025, the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, stressed that the auto industry is already rolling out a substantial number of new, higher-mileage products that are not only saving consumers money but reducing dependence upon foreign oil.

The report, titled, “Relieving Pain at the Pump: Thanks to Stronger Standards, Consumers Have More Fuel-Efficient Choices”, noted that the number of subcompact cars sold in the U.S. market getting at least 30 mpg has tripled since 2009, to 15.

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The number of midsize models rated 25 mpg jumped from just six in 2009 to 10 during the 2012 model-year.  Meanwhile, the count of crossovers getting at least 20 mpg, meanwhile, has doubled, to 32.  And the report stresses that fuel economy is rising rapidly across the automotive market.

“Drivers today have twice the fuel-efficient car options than just three years ago,” said Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The technology — and fuel savings — are only going to improve thanks to even stronger efficiency standards.”

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White House May Back Down on 56.2 MPG Fuel Economy Proposal

Compromise could mean lower requirement for light trucks.

by on Jul.15, 2011

President Obama during a visit to Detroit.

Compromise seems to be the watchword for the White House, and even as the president continues to seek consensus on a bill raising the federal debt limit it appears the administration might also aim for an acceptable alternative to the 56.2 mpg fuel economy standard it floated several weeks ago.

While already below the original proposal of 62 miles per gallon in 2025, the numbers still didn’t add up for most automakers.  Only Hyundai, of all major manufacturers, had indicated its belief it might even be able to come close.  Industry lobbyists gained a strong ally in their fight in the form of the United Auto Workers Union, which argued that a significant increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard could cost potentially 100s of thousands of jobs.

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While Washington still appears to be set on the 56.2 mpg number for passenger cars, which would be a 5% annual increase over the 2016 standard of 37.5mpg, it is now raising the possibility of a reduced standard for light trucks.  A report in the Wall Street Journal quotes sources who say the requirement for SUVs, pickups and other trucks would climb only 3.5% annually.

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