While Isaac-wary Republicans in Tampa try to deny the reach of global warming, the United States under President Obama on Tuesday took the biggest single step of any nation to do something about it.
Under auto mileage and emissions rules the Obama administration announced, new cars sold in the United States in 2025 will average 54.5 mpg, doubling their mileage from 2010 and cutting in half their global warming pollution.
It's not every century that the auto industry and the environmental movement agree on anything. But everyone on the spectrum from GM to environmentalists supports these rules.
With them, the auto industry can build cleaner, safer cars for Americans and a competitive future for itself. By shunning gas guzzlers and the rules' loopholes, auto companies will make the program a success and repay taxpayers for the $80 billion bailout that saved their tailpipes. They owe America no less.
Critics are telling you how much the rules will cost. But they aren't telling you that they will save much more: Even after paying for gas-saving technology, consumers will come out $8,000 ahead because they'll need less gas.
By 2030, the rules will have created 570,000 American jobs, according to a study by the labor and environment organization BlueGreen Alliance. That year, the new standards will save consumers $140 billion. Drivers will use 3.1 million fewer barrels of oil a day, cutting oil imports by approximately one-third. Cars and light trucks will spew the equivalent of 570 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Republican President Gerald R. Ford signed the mileage law in 1975. Obama has taken a step no president has taken in more than 35 years to slash our oil addiction, cut Americans' gas bills and fight global warming.
As we wrote in USA TODAY, it's now up to the automakers to behave responsibly.
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