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 fleetwide 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.
In order to continue to maximize long-term oil savings, the United States will need to continue to set ambitious improvement targets for light-duty vehicles for the period after 2016. Annual fuel-economy improvements of 4 percent can be reasonably achieved for a decade after the attainment of the 35.5 miles-per-gallon standard. Doing so could save billions of barrels of oil. Identical annual rates of improvement in fuel economy are attainable for the nation’s medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleet.