WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday hailed agreement on an ambitious increase in auto fuel-economy standards as evidence that compromise and progress are still possible.
The agreement, which Obama called “the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” was hammered out in weeks of negotiations involving automakers, environmentalists, unions, White House officials and the state of California.
By 2025, the landmark deal calls for cars and light trucks to achieve a fleet-wide average of 54.5 miles per gallon, only slightly less than the 56.2 miles per gallon that the administration had pushed for. The new standard will be phased in beginning in 2017.
Taking exemptions and other provisions into account, actual mileage may be about 42 mpg for cars with significant lower requirements for light trucks, including minivans, SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. Still, the standards demand a substantial leap from the 2011 model year average of 27.8 mpg.