60 MPG Is Good Deal for Consumers, Environment and Jobs

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Today, a consumer group, Consumer Federation of America, released a new studys that clearly shows stronger pollution and fuel efficiency standards that result in 60 miles per gallon by 2025 is good for consumers’ pocketbooks. But not only do consumers win, it also means less pollution, less oil dependency, and a stronger, more competitive auto industry. It’s one of the best examples of why good environmental and clean energy policy goes hand-in-hand with lowering consumer fuel bills and restoring American industry to a leadership position.

Achieving 60 mpg by 2025 can be done by using and improving on technologies that already exist, such as hybrid electric cars and electric vehicles. In fact, according to a new study released yesterday by the University of Michigan, the technical potential is to triple fuel economy to 74 mpg, even before considering plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. We have learned from cell phones, microwaves, and computers that higher volumes can lead to dramatic improvement in innovation and drive down costs.

Raising standards to 60 mpg is good for consumers, good for the environment and good for jobs. Here are the top three reasons why we need stronger pollution and fuel efficiency standards:

Reason #1: Pays for itself. According to the consumer group Consumer Federation of America, cost of fuel savings technologies pays for itself in the first year of ownership.

Reason #2: Making cars and trucks go further on a gallon is the cleanest, cheapest, and fastest way to meet our energy needs. It will reduce our dependency on oil from the Middle East while cutting emissions of greenhouse gas and other pollutants.. Passenger vehicles—cars, minivans, pickups and SUVs—are the single biggest consumer of oil, accounting for about 40 percent of our oil consumption. To break our oil addiction and avoid future disasters like the Gulf spill, we must raise the efficiency of our cars and trucks.

Reason #3: Without stronger standards, American automakers could fall behind in the global race for the clean car market, putting even more manufacturing jobs at risk. As recent reports by the business consulting firm McKinsey & Company show and others, the US auto industry is locked in a global race to dominate the market for clean, advanced technology vehicles. In the 1970s, the U.S. auto industry fell asleep at the wheel when it came to building fuel efficient cars and ceded huge market share to the Japanese companies like Toyota and Honda. In the 1990s, while the U.S. auto industry chose to build Hummers rather than hybrids, it once again, fell behind in leadership to Toyota and Honda on hybrids. In the 2010’s, without stronger standards, the U.S. auto industry risk losing ground to the fast rising Chinese auto industry.

This post by Roland Hwang first appeared on Switchboard, the Natural Resources Defense Council blog.


  • JamesDavis

    I think the American auto makers have been asleep at the wheel for over a hundred years, and they are still suffering from sleeping sickness. President Obama should have let Chrysler and GM go under and gave that money to companies with more advanced technology in the electric manufacturing of cars. Telsa could be pumping out some really nice electric cars now if they got the kind of stimulus GM got.

  • DC

    Reason #1 Hard to argue that one, high efficency is always a winner, unless of course, your starting out with a toxic, expensive product that quite litterally, poisons everyting it touches. Makeing a dirty toxic fuel go a little further seems to be missing the forest for the trees I think.

    Reason #2 This is shows that the author is firmly commited to BAU. It does not seem to bother that oil from the middle east is being used, only that, apparently, too much is being bought from all those dirty arabs. You cant “break” an addication by useing your prefered poison a little more efficently. Thats like saying to a drug addict, if you could only abuse your drugs a little less, youd reduce police costs and reduce our dependency on South American drug lords. And lastly haveing a slightly more efficent gas-burner WONT reduce oil-depedence OR avert spills like the GOM. That spill is direct result of dependence on gas-burners. The MPG of the cars the gas from the GOM would have gone into, has ZERO relevence on the number and severity of oil spills. What a foolish argument to make.

    Reason #3 A little behind the times on that one, america allready HAS lost the race to make clean cars(and oxymoron if there ever was one). Its not just that they “lost” the race, but were never interested in being in that particlar contest in the first place. I guess its expected in america to use whatever boogeyman happens to be the current threat to americas continued dominance of, whatever it is they seek to dominate, but I guess its expected to throw out the threat of the chinese menace to make their point. Last time i checked the chinese were busy emulateing americas failed approach and are builing freeways and roads as fast as they can pour concrete. And what are they putting on those roads? Whatever it is, “clean” its not. China does not have air-qualty you can cut with a knife because of all the EV’s FCV and Solar power Tractor-trailers they fill their roads with…

  • CLD

    DC,

    I’m sure Roland Hwang, in his role as Transportation Program Director for the NRDC, appreciates your intellectual superiority, as evidenced by your scathing critique of his article. It is obvious to see how you are more qualified than him to judge the benefits (or in your mind, lack of benefits) of reducing dependence on oil consumption by “…improving on technologies that already exist, such as hybrid electric cars AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES…” (my emphasis).

    Dude, I’m sure your response somehow satisfies your pathetic, juvenile need for self-aggrandizement; but quite frankly, what does it add to the argument? All Mr. Hwang is trying to say is that it’s in America’s best interest to not use as much petroleum as it does now, and he’s providing some rather reasonable points to bolster that argument. Where are you reading this “…America must stamp out the threat of Chinese domination…” BS? All he’s saying is that American manufacturing (and job creation) will be adversely affected if American car makers don’t keep up with the rest of the world in producing green technologies. Seeing as how the article was written for an American audience, that is certainly a relevant point to consider.

    You seem to be somewhat of an electric car zealot. Speaking as a person who actually drives an electric vehicle to work and back five days a week, I’m offering you a suggestion. Chill out a little. If you have points that would support BEV’s over ICE or hybrid vehicles, make those points without resorting to an ad hominem diatribe. You would be more likely to have people support your arguments if you did so.

  • Joe

    Better MPG’s is always better for America, As long as we stay away from CAP & TAX CARON LIE!

    Pollution is real but Carbon is unproven!!!

    AL GORE LIED AND NOW HE IS RICH!!!

  • Anonymous

    hasn’t al gore always been rich? i’d imagine that is the only way he was able to run for office. it’s almost a prerequisite…i can’t recall any presidential candidates who is foolish enough to run without money