This Monday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closed its public comment period regarding the new fuel efficiency standards that will be adopted by automakers for vehicles made from 2017-2025. These new standards will increase the fuel economy for cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon, which will cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
I applaud all those who submitted comments in favor of these rules because without public support, it was certain that special interests would have watered down these important standards. And, considering that U.S. households spent a record $4,155 filling up the gas tank last year, relief from these prices couldn't come at a better time. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported on February 6th, experts predict major metropolitan areas, such as Chicago, could see prices at $4.60 or higher this year.
The other part of this story is that despite the perception of a divided country, it was good to see that auto companies, the federal government, and environmental groups, work together to advance cleaner technologies that will work in everyone's best interest. Not only will better fuel economy standards protect consumers at the pump, but they will help fuel the continuing growth we are seeing in the auto industry and the broader U.S. economy.
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