After a 13-day delay, the Obama administration announced the much-anticipated corporate average fuel economy standards, which will raise industry-wide fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
“By the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “It will strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle-class families, and it will help create an economy built to last.”
One important detail: It’s not really 55 mpg. CAFE standards stem from a smorgasbord of 1970s-era fuel economy ratings with various exemptions and credits. Experts say the 54.5 mpg standard will translate to the high 30s in EPA combined city/highway gas mileage on new-car window stickers by 2025. Still, that’s a huge increase from the 22 mpg average for new cars, the EPA said last year.
Detroit Three unions, environmentalists, legislators and most major automakers came together more than a year ago to support the upgraded CAFE, which will add some $3,000 to the cost of each new car by 2025, USA Today reports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the improved fuel efficiency will save more than $8,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle. Many Republicans still oppose the standard, with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney telling the Detroit News last June that he’d “work with the manufacturers to find ways to encourage fuel economy on the part of the consumer” rather than mandating mileage requirements from automakers.