COLUMBUS, Ohio - New regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency will set a fuel-efficiency standard for cars and light trucks by model year 2025.
They’ll have to get just over 54 miles per gallon of gasoline, almost double what they get today.
The administration predicts the move will lower U.S. oil consumption by $12 billion barrels, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, spur job growth in the auto industry and save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump.
Rob McCulloch, senior policy and legislative advocate for the Blue Green Alliance, says it’s good news for Ohio drivers.
“The cumulative savings for Ohio in terms of fuel costs would be about $2.6 billion, and that’s through 2030.”
McCulloch says the standards would also bring 21,000 jobs to Ohio through 2030.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to overturn the fuel-efficiency rules if elected, saying they “hurt domestic automakers and provided a benefit to some of the foreign automakers.” The Obama administration says its new measures have the backing of the U.S. auto industry and the United Auto Workers.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the auto industry has been and will be creating jobs in the effort to reach the 2025 standards.
“I think we know that the American people want more fuel-efficient cars. That’s why they’re wildly popular right now. And the car manufacturers are responding to that by increasing capacity.”
McCulloch says it would be a mistake for a new administration to come in next January and overturn regulations to which the auto industry has agreed.
“The U.S. auto industry has really ramped up their production of producing the more cleaner, fuel-efficient cars that people want in the marketplace. On top of just having that for the U.S. market, that makes us more globally competitive as well.”
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was asked if other industries - such as coal, oil and gas - might take a cue from Detroit’s cooperation. She praised the carmakers.
“They’re not trying to make regulations go away. They know that the government can help consumers by saving money at the pump. They want to make sure that cars are on a level playing field. What they’ve asked for all along is one nationwide standard.”
Ohio statistics from the Blue Green Alliance are online at bluegreenalliance.org.