The Obama administration today announced new fuel economy and global warming standards for cars and light trucks. By 2025, new passenger vehicles will average 54.5 miles per gallon and global warming emissions will be dramatically lower.
Combined with the Obama administration’s earlier improvements to fuel economy standards for vehicles from 2012 to 2016, these new standards from 2017 to 2025 are the largest single step the U.S. has ever taken to reduce its global warming pollution. By 2025, the cumulative emissions savings from these new standards will be equal to total U.S. global warming emissions in 2010.
These new federal requirements have their roots in standards created by California to deal with its severe air pollution problems. More than a dozen states struggling with air pollution adopted California’s Clean Cars Program in place of federal standards, which were stagnant because of the car industry’s influence in limiting increases in federal fuel economy and air pollution standards.
Frontier Group spent years researching and explaining the benefits of California’s strong vehicle pollution standards for various states. We wrote dozens of reports documenting the benefits of global warming pollution standards and stronger fuel economy standards. We highlighted the increasingly efficient vehicles that were possible and available to consumers, calculated the reduction in air toxics that would result if states adopted stronger standards, and estimated how much global warming pollution and oil consumption could be reduced.
Our work provided useful information for local advocates who saw the Clean Cars Program as a solution to health-threatening air pollution and high global warming emissions. By tailoring our reports to local conditions that influence pollution from vehicles—including seasonal temperatures, how many miles people in each state drive annually, and the mix of cars versus trucks on the road in each state—we offered advocates data directly relevant to the discussion in their state.
Thank you to the Obama administration for adopting these protective new standards, and congratulations to advocates and legislative leaders in states across the nation who fought a two-decades-long battle to make this happen.
Associate Director and Senior Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
Elizabeth Ridlington is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group. She focuses primarily on global warming, toxics, health care and clean vehicles, and has written dozens of reports on these and other subjects. Elizabeth graduated with honors from Harvard with a degree in government. She joined Frontier Group in 2002. She lives in Northern California with her husband and son.