EPA, DOT to Set Course for Further Reductions in Vehicles’ Oil Consumption, Emissions

October 1, 2010

Media Contact(s):

Therese Langer, 202-507-4013, Transportation Program Director

Washington, D.C. – Making good on a commitment made by President Obama in May, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation today announced progress in developing standards that will dramatically reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks in model years 2017 to 2025. The announcement follows the adoption earlier this year of standards boosting average fuel economy to 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016.

“After decades of stagnation, fuel efficiency is now making steady progress towards much higher levels,” said Executive Director Steven Nadel. “Setting an ambitious course for vehicle improvements well into the future will allow the auto industry to invest with confidence in new technologies.”

The agencies presented a range of achievable levels of fuel economy, based on extensive analysis of technology options and their costs. The analysis reveals that there is still plenty of room to increase the efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles, both conventional and hybrid, through engine and transmission improvements and the use of advanced materials to reduce weight, among other technologies.

At the high end of the range presented by EPA and DOT, vehicles would average about 60 miles per gallon by 2025. “Sixty miles per gallon is the right target for 2025,” said Therese Langer, Transportation Program Director. “That will put us well on the road to reduced oil dependence, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a revitalized auto industry, and a 21st century economy.” A fuel economy standard of 60 miles per gallon would more than double the oil savings of the 2012–2016 standards adopted in April of this year, resulting in savings from the two stages together of over 5 million barrels of oil per day in 2030, according to ACEEE analysis.

Some scenarios considered by the agencies include substantial sales of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2025. These vehicles can dramatically reduce oil consumption, but their climate benefits are less certain. Until carbon emissions from U.S. power plants are greatly reduced, an electric vehicle may emit more than a hybrid vehicle. “We urge the EPA to fully account for the emissions associated with plug-in vehicles in the standards,” said Langer. “That will help ensure that vehicle electrification moves us towards a cleaner power grid.”

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. 2010 marks ACEEE’s 30th anniversary as an organization.