Pennsylvania Environmental Group Applauds New Vehicle Emissions Standards

Aug 29, 2012

United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this week announced new emissions standards that will nearly double current average fuel efficiency by 2025. Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) welcomed the announcement, calling it a great success for the economy and for public health.

“There are real costs to breathing dirty air: asthma, increased instances of hearth attack, other impacts on children and this will reduce soot, smog, and other pollutants in the air as we move forward into the next decade,” said PennFuture President and CEO George Jugovic.

As for the economy, Jugovic said, the standards will save consumers money at the pump, and help promote jobs.

“The technology that will be required to innovate and reach these goals will drive that sector of the economy, it will increase job growth, and that job growth is much needed at this time,” he said.

Still, some worry that increasing fuel economy standards is the wrong thing to do. One of the main criticisms is that new cars that are highly fuel-efficient are often too pricey for the average consumer. The Obama Administration said, yes, vehicles, will cost more, but Jogovic said that’s not the whole picture.

“It’s estimated that increased vehicle cost will be approximately $1,800, but fuel savings alone from increased efficiencies will be estimated to reach $8,000 over the life of the vehicle,” he said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is one of the organizations opposed to the new standards, and they said vehicle prices will be higher than the Obama Administration’s estimate.

“America’s new car dealers support continuous fuel economy increases. NADA remains concerned that model year 2017-2025 mandates, coupled with previous Obama administration fuel economy regulations, will hike the average price of a new vehicle by nearly $3,000 when fully implemented. This increase shuts almost 7 million people out of the new car market entirely and prevents many millions more from being able to afford new vehicles that meet their needs,” said NADA Chairman Bill Underriner.

The new standards will take effect in two stages, with the goal of reaching fuel efficiency of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that will save 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, or about 23 billion gallons of gasoline annually by 2030, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 280 million tons.

In celebration of the new standards, Pennfuture staff and volunteers wil march with the United Auto Workers in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade. Several supporters will be driving their own fuel-efficient vehicles in the parade.