New Fuel-Efficiency Standards: What They Mean to You

Administration sets new goal: 54.5 mpg for cars by 2025.

ByABC News
August 28, 2012, 7:12 PM

Aug. 28, 2012 -- Forget 34.5 miles per gallon. Come the year 2025, cars and light-duty trucks will be required to get 54.5 mpg under new standards announced by the Obama administration today.

What does it mean for you besides fewer trips to the gas station? Advocates say two things: savings and jobs.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a nonprofit organization, consumers can expect to save $8,000 over the life of a 2025 car versus one on the road today. Those savings, according to the administration, would be the equivalent of lowering gas prices by $1 per gallon.

A study published in June by the Blue Green Alliance, a group of 14 unions and environmental organizations, found that the changes (at the time proposed) in mpg would lead to 570,000 more American jobs, with 50,000 new jobs by 2030 in light-duty vehicle manufacturing and assembly alone.

The UCS added that the changes will also cut oil use by 3.1 million barrels per day by 2030 -- an amount equivalent to what the U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela combined. It also said that in the effort to control carbon dioxide buildup blamed for global warming, it would be the equivalent of taking a third of today's cars and trucks off the road for a year.

"If you are against these common-sense standards, you are against saving consumers money, against consumer choice, and for leaving our economy open to being crippled yet again by our expensive oil use," said Michelle Robinson, director of UCS's Clean Vehicles program.

Following today's announcement, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said "everybody is a winner today."

"Motorists win because they will have much more fuel-efficient cars to drive, thus saving thousands of dollars at the gas pump every year," Beinecke said in a statement to ABC News. "The auto industry -- and its workers -- win because these standards will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs as well as state-of-the-art vehicles that go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gasoline."

The standards, being touted as "historic" by the White House, issued by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency build upon previous requirements to raise fuel efficiency by 2016 to 35.5 mpg.

The standards are also supported by 13 major automakers, which account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, though, said it had "mixed emotions" about the new standards.

Fuel-efficient vehicles are already available in many instances, said Gloria Bergquist of the alliance in a conversation with ABC's Jake Tapper. "Consumers need to buy them. If they don't we may well fall short."