The following editorial first appeared in the Kansas City Star:
Tougher fuel standards are coming to America, and they should produce twin victories for a cleaner environment and a reduced addiction to foreign oil.
Large automakers and President Barack Obama deserve praise for agreeing to stricter fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles. The results promise to be impressive. Cars and trucks will use less gasoline, cutting the need for imported petroleum from unstable Middle Eastern countries. The reduced emissions from cleaner-burning vehicles will yield healthier air for millions of Americans.
Obama did a solid job negotiating with carmakers, insisting on a deal that would require them to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles a gallon for their vehicle fleets by 2025. Notably, that would almost double the standard of just a few years ago, when the auto industry spent way too much time and money resisting pressure in Washington to make more-efficient vehicles.
Some environmentalists are miffed the proposed standards aren’t even higher. However, they aren’t that far down from Obama’s initial (good) idea of future vehicle fleets that would average 56 miles a gallon.
All major domestic automakers finally appear ready to embrace the standards and drop their claims that Americans won’t buy these kinds of vehicles. As sales figures for smaller cars and trucks have shown in recent years, they will, indeed, roll off the showroom floors.
And with the cost of gasoline today, there’s a good reason to expect even more buyers will pay plenty of attention to fuel efficiency in the future.