NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Obama administration on Tuesday is set to propose stricter fuel economy standards in an effort to cut down vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The plan will require passenger cars and light trucks to get an overall average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the plan. By that year, cars will be expected to average about 39 mpg and 30 mpg for trucks. Current fuel economy standards are 27.5 mpg for cars and 23.1 for trucks.
The Obama plan would accelerate by four years new fuel economy standards passed by Congress at the end of 2007. Fuel economy will be increased gradually beginning in 2012 and run through 2016. The administration predicts the changes will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil by 2016. That's roughly what the country goes through in about 86 days, according to numbers from the Energy Information Administration. The proposed plan is expected to add about $600 to the cost of a car, the official said. That's on top of $700 added by changes to fuel economy rules that have already been recently enacted, the official said, but consumers should be able to save enough in gas to make up for the cost.
Well that is interesting. Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently signaled that the administration does not plan to use the endangered prospects of the Polar Bear in the arctic as a tool to tighten the screws on climate change. But here is the other shoe dropping: Obama apparently is quite serious about fighting climate change by any means necessary, other than polar bears.
Of course, this does place yet another burden on Detroit as well as foreign carmakers with US plants. Instead of the Bush approach- can't ask Detroit to do fuel efficiency, that is up to the consumer- the new approach dares to confront our dependence on foreign oil and our contributions to climate change. With gas over $2 a gallon and heading upwards, of course the improved mileage stats would pay for themselves if you keep your car for a few years.
You pretty much know my opinion on this without me having to spell it out. Yes, I am one of Gather's handful of people who are eager to take on the denial squad and remind you that climate change is real, and is rooted in the billions of tons of carbon we send skyward. You can't see the carbon coming out of your tailpipe, but yeah it is there. Quite a lot of it over a year's time, you would be amazed. But enough about reality. What is your opinion on this? Annoyed that you will have to spend $600 more for a new car, even if you will get the $ back due to using less gasoline? Concerned that smaller vehicles will make you feel unsafe? Do you think there is any other way to get carmakers to undertake these changes without demanding it of them?