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September 17, 2010

Go 60 MPG

This post was written by Canyon Kyle over on Climate Crossroads.

In April, the Obama administration raised the fuel efficiency standards for model year 2016 vehicles to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon. That was a good improvement and proved popular with the public. More efficient cars mean less money spent on gas, after all. Plus, better efficiency improves air quality, reduced imports of oil, and reduces climate change pollution. With the success of the 2016 standards, the administration is now set to announce standards for 2025. By looking far to the future, the administration is giving automakers plenty of time to develop more efficient fleets.

The public is decidedly on the side of more efficient cars. In a recent national poll (pdf), 74 percent of respondents said they supported the federal government requiring the auto industry to increase average fuel efficiency to 60 miles per gallon by the year 2025. That makes sense, since fuel efficiency affects so many people directly. More fuel efficient cars are better cars. It’s pretty simple.

The most telling response from the poll, perhaps, is that sixty-six percent of respondents still supported the idea even if it added $3,000 to the price of a new car. Indeed, eighty-three percent of respondents said they would favor the policy if a $3,000 cost were recouped in four years through savings at the pump, a likely outcome.

Some automakers are fighting against the stronger standards just like they fought against seat belts and early fuel standards. But the truth is the technology to get us to 60 mpg is already here. We don’t need some new, unknown fuel source. We just need 55 percent hybrids, 15 percent electric vehicles, and the rest well-designed gasoline vehicles to get there. For more information and to take action, check out go60mpg.org.

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