Rhein on Energy and Climate

After one year of intensive consultations with auto makers, unions, consumer and environmental groups and energy experts the US government has finalised its 2025 fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

By 2025 the average fuel consumption will be half of today’s values, 4.3 litre/100 km compared to more than 8 litre today. This is a veritable revolution in the USA. President Obama deserves full credit for it. It will be his lasting achievement in the field of energy and climate policy.

By 2025 the USA can boast of one of the most fuel-efficient auto fleets on earth, comparable to that of the EU.

Thanks to it, the USA expect to halve its oil imports by 2025, a major contribution to their energy security!

It would also be the biggest ever US contribution to slowing climate change: green house gas emissions from cars and light trucks would decrease by half until 2025!

It will be up to manufacturers to transform their vehicle fleets. To that end they will have to use the full range of efficiency technologies from lower weight to more efficient – diesel – engines, transmission systems, air-conditioning, aerodynamic design and, of course, hybrid, gas cell and e-vehicles.

For the first time, the USA is ahead of the EU in terms of long-term fuel efficiency targets. It is therefore high time for the EU to catch up and also fix 2025 standards!

The EU should publicly congratulate President Obama for his achievement and invite other countries to follow suit. This is desirable for at least two reasons:

  • as signal to opponents among the Republican Party not to come back on these standards in case of an election victory November 6th.
  • as a positive signal for the upcoming ministerial climate conference in Qatar.

Brussels, Eberhard Rhein


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