Dependence upon foreign oil has been a long standing controversial issue in the United States. In addition to not wanting to be dependent upon oil from across the world, oil dependence in general is considered a disadvantage in a future likely to have limited supply. Therefore raising miles per gallon (mpg) standards on vehicles has been pushed as a way to alleviate concerns.
In the U.S., miles per gallon standards were stagnant for about two decades at a fleet average of 27.5 miles per gallon for all new vehicles. Then the Obama administration raised the miles per gallon standards. The new standard for this year is an average of 30.2 mpg for new vehicles. By 2016, the fleet average mpg will be up to 35.5.
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy, as the standard is referred to, is the averaged miles per gallon of both cars and light trucks, which include SUVs and pickup trucks. Cars are held to a higher miles per gallon. The Obama administration has now announced further increases of the standard, to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The administration had recommended raising the fleet standard to 62 miles per gallon.
However, the 54.5 miles per gallon standard was agreed upon by both the Obama administration and the majority of car manufacturers in the United States. Manufacturers which account for ninety percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. are said to have agreed with the new standards, despite some arguing it would be difficult to meet. Some opponents of the new standard also argue that the new standard will raise the cost of new vehicles, however, the new fuel economy is expected to cover these costs.
In the new fleet standard plan, new car miles per gallon will increase five percent each year between 2017 and 2025. For new light trucks, from 2017 to 2021 the miles per gallon will increase 3.5 percent each year. From 2021 to 2025 the mpg would increase five percent yearly.
The new standards are expected to reduce dependence on foreign oil and reduce oil use in general significantly.