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August 28, 2012

Today's Auto Standards: Celebrating a Big Deal

My colleague Jesse Prentice-Dunn posted a blog a couple of weeks ago that started off by saying "Later this month, President Obama is expected to finalize historic vehicle efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and trucks sold from 2017-2025."

Well, "later" is today! Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, shared the great news on a call today. The message was clear – everybody wins when we have strong standards that cut oil consumption and slash pollution.

Today is a day to applaud action: Action to curb the pollution that is disrupting our climate; Action to curb our dependence on oil; Action to save Americans billions of dollars at the gas pump; Action to give consumers the safe, more efficient, and less polluting vehicles they want; and Action that will create jobs.

I have worked on raising fuel efficiency for a long time (I won't say exactly how long). Let's just say that there were too many years when nothing happened to improve the fuel economy of new vehicles. There were even years when Congress forbid the Department of Transportation from even thinking about raising fuel efficiency standards. Who would have imagined that cars in 2010 only had to meet standards Congress set back in 1975?

This administration, in just three years, has turned around nearly 30 years of inaction when it comes to putting technology and innovation to work to give consumers better vehicle choices.  

Over the past year we sent nearly 300,000 messages to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation in support of strong standards. We turned out at hearings to support action that would our cars use less oil over time and spew out less pollution. We were not the only ones to show up and support standards. Automakers came to say they will put technology to work and meet these standards. Autoworkers were there too as were veterans and consumer advocates. We won!

President Obama called these standards "the single most important step we've ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This historic agreement builds on the progress we’ve already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption. By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It'll strengthen our nation's energy security, it's good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last."

This amounts to big benefits – check out our vehicle standards infographic: (click to enlarge)

54.5

With June and July registering as the hottest months on record, and parching drought across much of the country, strong fuel efficiency and reduced climate-disrupting pollution are a major victory for our planet and our children’s future.

-- Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign

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