Last week's agreement between the federal government and automakers to raise for the second time since 2009 the CAFE standard is a keystone to a national energy policy that ends oil imports, protects the US economy from oil price shocks, and slashes heat trapping pollution that has already raised average temperatures by 2 degrees.
Fuel efficiency plus substituting natural gas, electricity, biodiesel for oil is the road to ending our sickening, dangerous oil addiction.
Raising the fuel efficiency standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 will decrease US carbon emissions by about 650 million tons per year or 10% of the total. Pennsylvania emits about 320 miLlion tons of carbon each year from all sources--power plants, homes, factories, transportation--so this CAFE increase reduces carbon pollution by twice what Pennsylvania emits.Cars and trucks account for about 20% of total carbon emissions.
The 54.5 mpg CAFE standard will save car owners $3,000 in gasoline costs, and also cushion our economy from oil price shocks likemtha experienced this year when gasoline jumped to $4. At that price median income families spent about 10% of their disposable income on filling the
tank, leaving less for other purchases, thereby slowing the economy further.
This agreement is the second time President Obama has negotiated a major increase in the CAFE standard, and it alone is a major piece of a real energy policy that works for the USA.