Obama Administration Finalizes Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standards/ Consumer Savings Comparable to Lowering Price of Gasoline by $1 Per Gallon by 2025

WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Administration today finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads. In total, the Administration’s national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “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.”

The historic standards issued today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) build on the success of the Administration’s standards for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016. Those standards, which raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg, are already saving families money at the pump.

Achieving the new fuel efficiency standards will encourage innovation and investment in advanced technologies that increase our economic competitiveness and support high-quality domestic jobs in the auto industry. The final standards were developed by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public. Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards. By aligning Federal and state requirements and providing manufacturers with long-term regulatory certainty and compliance flexibility, the standards encourage investments in clean, innovative technologies that will benefit families, promote U.S. leadership in the automotive sector, and curb pollution.

“Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that use less gas, travel farther, and provide more efficiency for consumers than ever before—all while protecting the air we breathe and giving automakers the regulatory certainty to build the cars of the future here in America,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Today, automakers are seeing their more fuel-efficient vehicles climb in sales, while families already saving money under the Administration’s first fuel economy efforts will save even more in the future, making this announcement a victory for everyone.”

“The fuel efficiency standards the administration finalized today are another example of how we protect the environment and strengthen the economy at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Innovation and economic growth are already reinvigorating the auto industry and the thousands of businesses that supply automakers as they create and produce the efficient vehicles of tomorrow. Clean, efficient vehicles are also cutting pollution and saving drivers money at the pump.”

The Administration’s combined efforts represent the first meaningful update to fuel efficiency standards in decades. Together, they will save American families more than $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, resulting in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. For families purchasing a model Year 2025 vehicle, the net savings will be comparable to lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon. Additionally, these programs will dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign oil, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil and reducing oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025 – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC each day.

The standards also represent historic progress to reduce carbon pollution and address climate change. Combined, the Administration’s standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010.

President Obama announced the proposed standard in July 2011, joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, as well as the United Auto Workers. The State of California and other key stakeholders also supported the announcement and were integral in developing this national program.

In achieving these new standards, EPA and NHTSA expect automakers’ to use a range of efficient and advanced technologies to transform the vehicle fleet. The standards issued today provide for a mid-term evaluation to allow the agencies to review their effectiveness and make any needed adjustments.

Major auto manufacturers are already developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards. In addition, a wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems. The program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including:

Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles;

Incentives for hybrid technologies for large pickups and for other technologies that achieve high fuel economy levels on large pickups;

Incentives for natural gas vehicles;

Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1lWlH)

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President Obama Announces $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles and expansion of advanced vehicle tax credit

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
March 07, 2012

Fact Sheet: All-of-the-Above Approach to American Energy

President Obama Announces $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles and expansion of advanced vehicle tax credit

During the State of the Union Address, the President laid out a blueprint for a new era of American energy – an economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed in America and produced by American workers. Today, the President will visit Daimler Trucks North America Mt. Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mt. Holly, NC to deliver remarks on American energy.  While at the Daimler Plant, the President will tour the assembly line, see several of the alternative fuel models built there, and discuss the importance of taking a sustained, all-of-the-above approach on energy, responsibly expanding domestic production of natural gas and oil, which is currently at an eight year high, improving the efficiency of our cars and trucks, and making the long-term investments in alternatives to oil to provide American families the choices we all deserve. This strategy is a win for the economy, a win for energy security, and a win for national security.

In Mt. Holly, the President will announce a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles in communities around the country.  The President will also announce a set of incentives to help consumers and businesses purchase new, advanced cars and trucks, including increasing and expanding the current tax credit for advanced vehicles, from the $7,500 credit that currently exists up to $10,000, while allowing the credit to be applied to additional types of technologies, not currently covered. In addition, the President is announcing a new research challenge that invests in breakthrough technologies to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient to own and operate as gasoline-powered vehicles by the end of the decade.

Today the President will also highlight Daimler’s commitment to increasing fuel economy standards and manufacturing vehicles that will increase fuel economy and reduce oil consumption. Taken together, the Obama Administration’s standards for cars and light-duty trucks span model years 2011 to 2025 and represent the first meaningful update in over three decades. Under this program, average fuel efficiency will reach a performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump overtime – or roughly $8,200 per vehicle and slash oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025. The Administration has also finalized the first-ever national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans, and buses spanning model years 2014-2018, which will reduce oil consumption by over 500 million barrels, and save truck owners and operators more than $50 billion in fuel costs.

Daimler Trucks North America is a partner in the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative, which is focused on increasing the fuel efficiency of long haul trucks, or 18-wheelers, by 50 percent by 2015. While long-haul trucks represent only 4 percent of the on-road vehicles in America, they are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption, with this class of vehicle currently consuming more than 30 billion gallons of gasoline a year. To achieve this goal, companies like Daimler are developing and improving vehicle technologies in engine efficiency, aerodynamics, waste heat recovery, and hybridization, among other approaches.  Through these types of improvements, the Energy Department estimates fuel economy increases could save long-haul truckers more than $15,000 per truck per year in fuel costs.

The President’s New Initiatives to Support Advanced Vehicles

Launching a “Race to the Top” challenge for communities to encourage advanced vehicle adoption:  The President is announcing a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass.  This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation.  This proposal, however, would be ‘fuel neutral’, allowing communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit.  Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale.  The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.

Making advanced vehicles more affordable: The President proposes to improve the current tax credit for electric vehicles by
o Expanding eligibility for the credit to a broader range of advanced vehicle technologies;
o Increasing the amount from $7,500, making it scalable up to $10,000;
o Reforming the credit to make it available at the point-of-sale by making it transferable to the dealer or financier, allowing consumers to benefit when they purchase a vehicle rather than when they file their taxes; and
o Removing the cap on the number of vehicles per manufacturer eligible for the credit and, instead, ramping down and eventually eliminating the credit at the end of the decade.

Accelerating deployment of alternative-fuel trucks: The President is proposing a new tax incentive for commercial trucks that provides a credit for 50% of the incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck, including trucks powered by natural gas or electricity, for a five-year period.  This incentive – paired with support through programs like the Energy Department’s National Clean Fleets Partnership, which provides technical assistance to large company fleets interested in moving toward vehicles that rely on little or no oil – will not only drive down domestic demand for oil, but also drive up demand for the sorts of vehicles built at Freightliner’s Mt. Holly Plant and, in turn, spur job creation in the American manufacturing sector.

Launching ‘EV Everywhere’, a clean energy grand challenge to make electric-powered vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles for the average American family within a decade:    This national effort is the second in a series of Clean Energy Grand Challenges designed by the Department of Energy to bring together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work together to solve the most pressing energy technology challenges of our time.  EV Everywhere will enable companies in the U.S. to produce electric vehicles at lower cost, with an improved vehicle range and an increased fast-charging ability, so average American families will be able to own and drive an electric vehicle as affordable and convenient as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.  The savings from using lower-cost electricity instead of gasoline, roughly $100 per month for the average driver, combined with the reduction of upfront vehicle cost, will lower energy costs for American consumers and businesses.  The President’s FY13 Budget includes $650 million to advance vehicle and battery technologies at the Energy Department, including investments that support this new grand challenge.  EV Everywhere will invest in breakthrough R&D for advanced batteries, electric drivetrain technologies, lightweight vehicle structures, and fast charging technology.

Source – The White House