Reduced Demand for Oil Through Improved Vehicle Efficiency

As part of a comprehensive strategy for reducing its exposure to rising crude oil prices and an increasingly volatile global oil market, the United States must steadily curb the growth of its demand for oil while it transitions away from using oil as its primary transportation fuel.

In 2007, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), legislation that closely mirrored several of SAFE’s policy recommendations, including the first significant improvements to fuel economy standards in a generation.

In May 2009, President Obama instituted rules to increase the national fleet-wide average standard for cars and light trucks to 35.5 miles per gallon (39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks) by 2016, four years faster than required by EISA, and in August 2012, strengthened and extended the fuel economy standards to reach 54.5 by 2025. The Obama Administration also implemented the first-ever fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and SAFE continues to work with federal regulators to develop future standards which are both effective and fair.

Fuel economy standards are an essential, immediate-term step which will save billions of barrels of oil and help defray the economic impact of rising gasoline prices.  U.S. household gasoline expenditures reached a record $2,900 in 2012. The federal government currently estimates that the new standards will reduce U.S. oil demand by more than 3 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2030 and save consumers nearly $4 trillion in fuel expenditures over the life of the program.

“[SAFE] played a crucial role in President Bush's call, in his State of the Union address, for a 20 percent cut in gasoline use in 10 years and a policy initiative for CAFE standards to increase by 4 percent per year.” U.S. News and World ReportDecember 13, 2007

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