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Obama on the Record: Fuel Efficiency Standards

Yes, it costs money to develop these vehicles, but even as the price to build these cars and trucks goes up, the cost of driving these vehicles will go down, as drivers save money at the pump. And this is a point I want to emphasize: If you buy a car, your investment in a more fuel-efficient vehicle as a result of this standard will pay off in just three years. In three years’ time you will have paid off the additional investment required. So this is a winning proposition for folks looking to buy a car. In fact, over the life of a vehicle, the typical driver would save about $2,800 by getting better gas mileage.

The fact is, everyone wins: Consumers pay less for fuel, which means less money going overseas and more money to save or spend here at home. The economy as a whole runs more efficiently by using less oil and producing less pollution. And companies like those here today have new incentives to create the technologies and the jobs that will provide smarter ways to power our vehicles.

And that’s why, in the next five years, we’re seeking to raise fuel-economy standards to an industry average of 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016, an increase of more than eight miles per gallon per vehicle. That’s an unprecedented change, exceeding the demands of Congress and meeting the most stringent requirements sought by many of the environmental advocates represented here today.

As a result, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. Just to give you a sense of magnitude, that’s more oil than we imported last year from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria combined. (Applause.) Here’s another way of looking at it: This is the projected equivalent of taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.

I also want to note that the agreement we have announced today is part of a far larger effort. In fact, on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Henry Waxman is chairing a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is working on an equally historic energy bill that will not only help our dependence on foreign oil, prevent the worst consequences of climate change, and build a clean energy economy, but will provide more than $15 billion to help build the cars and trucks of the future right here in America. (Applause.)

And the recovery plan we’ve put in place, as well as the budget that builds on it, makes historic investments in a clean energy economy: doubling our capacity to generate renewable energy like wind and solar; investing in new battery technologies for plug-in hybrids; and building a smarter, stronger grid on which the homes, businesses and vehicles of the future will run. (Applause.)


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