President Barack Obama took a short break from the US debt negotiations to announce new fuel efficiency rules for cars and vans, hailing the new standards as “the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil”. (watch video announcement)
As widely trailed, Obama confirmed that automakers would be required to deliver an average fuel efficiency for their US fleets of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
The rules also require cars to deliver a five per cent a year improvement in efficiency through to 2021 with vans required to improve by 3.5 per cent a year. After 2021 all vehicles are expected to have to improve by five per cent a year, although the White House signaled that the standards would be reviewed before 2021 to ensure that rules are continuing to prove cost effective.
Obama said the rules would reduce US oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day through to 2025, while White House figures have suggested that the new regime would help cut US carbon emissions by more than six billion tones over the next 15 years.