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October 01, 2010

Averaging 60 mpg in 2025? You Bet!

This is a guest post by Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign.

Can America's new cars average at lest 60 miles per gallon in 2025? Yes! This is what Sierra Club has been calling for as part of Go60mpg.org.

Today Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave a strong start to the process of setting average fuel economy and global warming pollution standards for cars in model years 2017-2025.

Yes, there are details and more details and we won't have a final standard until the summer of 2012 - but the story today is that there are multiple paths the industry can take to achieve an average fuel economy of 62 miles per gallon in 2025.

No surprises here - better engines, transmissions, high strength and lighter weight materials, hybrids and electric vehicles are all technologies that automakers can use to continue to increase fuel efficiency and reduce global warming pollution for cars and trucks. With higher gas prices always on the horizon, making cars go farther on a gallon of gas is a no-brainer.

The oil disasters this past summer in the Gulf and the Kalamazoo River only add urgency to setting strong standards to help break our dirty and dangerous addiction to oil and slash global warming pollution.

We are not talking about doing this overnight. The standards that kick in between 2012-2016 will be reducing emissions of global warming pollution by 5% each year between 2012 and 2016. So, getting to at least 60 mpg in 2025 is a matter of reducing pollution by 6% per year.

Cars1

Model year 2025 cars will save nearly twice the oil over their lifetimes than aiming low.
Cars2

Again, no surprises - the auto industry is already saying aiming for 60 mpg is too much. Dave McCurdy at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers went so far as to say:

"Instead of plucking numbers out of the air, we should base policy on science and expert reviews of factors like affordability of technology, availability of low-carbon fuels and the state of the electric infrastructure."
This is about putting technology to work. We have more faith in the automakers than they do. That's nothing new - this is an industry that has said no to seat belts, air bags, air pollution controls, and for decades they said no to raising fuel economy. And, let's not forget the tens of billions of tax payer dollars that went into to bailing these naysayers out.

Our colleagues at Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council looked at technologies and costs and found that 60 mpg is not only achievable - but it also will save consumers $101 billion dollars in 2025 (PDF). EPA and the Department of Transportation have looked at the technology and the costs and made clear 60 mpg is not only achievable, but it will save far more than the technologies cost.

In fact, the agencies show that consumers could see net savings of $5,700 and $7,400 at the pump. These are savings after recovering the cost $2,800- $3,500 cost of technologies. These are dollars that stay in our economy instead going to pay for foreign oil. That's a good deal!

A recent poll shows that Americans overwhelming support getting to 60 mpg by 2025. The Administration should follow through with proposing and finalizing a 6% annual decrease in global warming pollution for 2017-2025 vehicles.

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