The move increases fuel economy standards for light vehicles in 2011 to 27.3 miles per gallon, or 8 percent over the 2010-model-year requirement. New cars will have to meet a standard of 30.2 miles per gallon. The standards will save 887 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 8.3 million metric tons, according to the Department of Transportation.
That’s a key first step toward Congress’s mandate that automakers by 2020 reach 35 miles per gallon-a 40 percent increase over the current average of 25 miles per gallon. Rep. Edward Markey, who chairs a subcommittee on energy and the environment, said in a statement that the administration’s announcement represents a “historic first step.”
This has been long overdue in cutting our dependence on foreign oil. I know critics will say, we are kicking the auto industry when they are at their lowest. I would point out, these executives have watched their foreign competitors make huge strides in making more fuel efficient cars over the years. They have also witnessed the gains they have made in sales and customer satisfaction; while theirs plummeted year after year. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to watch these trends and make educated decisions were the future of the auto industry must head. For their complacency, I have no sympathy.
Obama is also trying to keep his pledge, that he made on the campaign trail, to effect a change for the better, in our fight against global warming.
The Obama administration has had to carefully balance the needs of Detroit automakers, and the effects of their potential failure on the economy in Michigan and elsewhere, against its pledge to fight climate change. Obama promised during his campaign to support a 4 percent annual increase in efficiency standards, and as officials work now to hammer out a set of efficiency rules applicable through 2015, environmentalists want to make sure that the increase will materialize.
I feel this is a necessary step in the right direction. I know Obama will receive much grief on this issue but, in the long run, it will not only be beneficial to the environment, this should help boost sales for the auto industry once these new fuel efficient cars hit the market.