Friday, August 5, 2011

Air Time: New car standards drive fuel savings, jobs, cleaner air

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

As this Forbes columnist points out, some major news for Americans and the U.S. economy may have gone without much notice last week because of all the debt drama.

President Obama announced new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks. These standards follow up on earlier increases in fuel efficiency that are required starting with 2011 models.

Taken together, by 2025 these new standards are estimated to:
  • Increase the fleet-wide average efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon.

  • Save Americans $1.7 trillion at the pump over the life of the program. (Ecology’s Air Quality Program estimates that Washingtonians will see total savings of $34 billion by 2025.)

  • Reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

  • Cut emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide by 6 billion metric tons.

The Forbes columnist cites a national study — “More Jobs Per Gallon” – that predicts the new standards will spur creation of nearly 500,000 new jobs, including about 43,000 in the auto-manufacturing industry.

It’s a remarkable achievement. Just a few years ago, automakers were fighting tougher standards in court. Now, they have joined with President Obama, environmentalists, workers, and a variety of others in backing these new standards.

And we all get cleaner air to breathe, too. As this Los Angeles Times editorial notes, it's a winning deal.

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