Obama Looks Ahead to Higher 2017-2025 Fuel Standards

Obama Looks Ahead to Higher 2017-2025 Fuel Standards

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Kim Scarborough

The Obama Administration said Friday it will begin looking at tougher fuel economy standards for vehicles produced in model years 2017 to 2025.

The move follows the first phase of the national program that will boost fuel efficiency to 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016. Some have speculated the administration could require automakers to increase fuel economy to 62 miles per gallon, but the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently balked at the suggestion until it conducts a full review.

Passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans, generate nearly 60 percent of transportation-based greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 2012-2016 standards were touted as a way to address these emissions because they also implemented emissions limits of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.

The Obama Administration signaled its intent in May it would look beyond 2016, and also create the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The efforts are aimed at halving fuel use and related greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years.

"Continuing the successful clean cars program will accelerate the environmental benefits, health protections and clean technology advances over the long-term," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement Friday. "In addition to protecting our air and cutting fuel consumption, a clear path forward will give American automakers the certainty they need to make the right investments and promote innovations."

The EPA and Department of Transportation will now create a plan to extend the national program, including working with the California Air Resources Board on a technical assessment. The agencies will issue a Notice of Intent with an analysis of potential future standards by Nov. 30.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Kim Scarborough.