Wow. It's hard to believe this is really happening. The House should vote on the Energy Bill this week. Here's our take on what the House is about to do:
Historic Breakthrough Reached on Fuel Economy
35 mile per gallon minimum standard locked in for 2020
November 30--Today, Congressional leaders announced an agreement that would lead to the first meaningful improvement in the fuel economy of America's cars, trucks, and SUVs in over 30 years. The agreement would raise fuel economy standards to an average of at least 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2020, a 10-mpg increase over current levels. Now Congress and the president must seize this opportunity and turn these standard into law.
"This agreement breaks 30 years of gridlock on fuel economy and could not have happened without strong leaders in Congress who were committed to curbing America's oil addiction," Said David Friedman, UCS clean vehicles program's research director. "This is a victory for American's struggling with $3 per gallon gasoline and would deliver savings of more than $20 billion in 2020."
According to analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, full implementation of this compromise will save about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day in 2020. That is half of what the United States currently imports from the entire Persian Gulf. As a result, American consumers will save $22 billion dollars in 2020, even after paying for the necessary fuel economy technology. In addition, the legislation will prevent over 190 million metric tons of global warming pollution. That is the equivalent to taking 28 million of today's average cars and trucks off the road in that year.
"This agreement sends a clear signal, it is time for automakers to turn their PR into products," said Friedman. "Today Congress listened to the facts on fuel economy, the technology is there to deliver more miles to the gallon and 35 is just the beginning."
The agreement sets a floor for fuel economy. It would require current and future administrations to make steady progress each year beginning in 2011, ultimately resulting in a fleet of new cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups that reaches an average of at least 35 miles per gallon in 2020. The standards would be based on vehicle attributes, so companies that make more large vehicles, such as Detroit's Big 3, would have to meet a requirement of only 33 mpg by 2020. Companies that sell fewer large vehicles, like Honda and Volkswagen, would have to reach 37 to 39 mpg. At the same time, it leaves all existing laws intact, keeping the door open to efforts underway at both the federal and state level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.
While the agreement is a strong step forward, it is still a compromise. Under the agreement, automakers will continue to receive flex-fuel vehicle credits for vehicles that can, but rarely do, run on alternative fuels. While this does erode oil savings, the loophole is phased out and ultimately eliminated in 2020. While the agreement preserves separate passenger and non-passenger vehicle standards, the locked in 35 mpg requirement should guard against automaker attempts to game the system.
Key Facts From reaching 35 in 2020:
- Oil Savings: 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020
- Net Savings for Consumers: $22 billion in 2020 (even after paying for the needed technology)
- Greenhouse Gas Savings: 192 million metric tons of global warming pollution avoided in 2020 (equal to taking 28 million of today's average cars and trucks off the road)
- Estimated 2007 gasoline demand: 145 billion gallon
- Annual Consumer Spending on Gasoline: over $370 billion
- Current Spending on Oil and Petroleum Imports: $1 billion per day
- Oil Imports: 60%, 12 million barrels per day
- Oil Imports from the Persian Gulf: 2.2 million barrels per day in 2006
- Today's average fuel economy: about 25 mpg
- Peak year for fuel economy: 1987 at about 26 mpg
- Lifetime gasoline savings for the 35 mpg average vehicle: over $4,500
- Added cost for the average vehicle to reach 35 mpg: $1,000-1,500
- Payback time: 2-3 years
Posted by: ScottN