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RELEASE: 5 Ways the Obama Administration Revived the Auto Industry by Reducing Oil Use

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181
Email: cdipasquale@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. — As the Obama administration prepares to promulgate fuel-economy and carbon-pollution limits for 2017 to 2025 model cars, the Center for American Progress today released “5 Ways the Obama Administration Revived the Auto Industry by Reducing Oil Use.” The new standards will reduce oil use, save families money from lower gasoline purchases, create jobs, and reduce carbon pollution responsible for climate change.

“Vehicles that go much farther on a gallon of gasoline are the best weapon we have against rising gas prices,” said Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at CAP. “President Obama’s newest fuel-economy standards will save drivers thousands of dollars at the pump and slash our oil use while prices are rising due to the impact of Iran oil sanctions and possible oil production disruption in the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Issac. Meanwhile, the improved standards will build a more innovative and competitive American auto industry.”

The new fuel-economy standards are one of several actions the Obama administration has taken to revive and strengthen the American auto industry. The most prominent, of course, was the bridge loans granted to General Motors and Chrysler in March 2009 that enabled those companies to remain in business long enough to restructure, begin to innovate again, and return back to profitability.

Five other major Obama administration policies that helped revive the auto industry include:

  • Fuel-economy and carbon-pollution standards for 2017 to 2025 model cars that will double fuel economy and reduce oil use by 2 million barrels per day
  • Fuel-economy and carbon-pollution standards for 2012 to 2016 model cars that reduced oil use and sparked demand for new cars despite high gasoline prices
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment in research and development of ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle technologies designed to yield innovations that spur job growth and increase international competitiveness
  • Federal loans to help convert factories to the production of fuel-efficient vehicles, and which support thousands of manufacturing jobs
  • The “Cash for Clunkers” program that increased vehicle efficiency and helped save the auto industry by stimulating demand for cars at the depths of the Great Recession

The first and second phases of modern fuel-economy standards will significantly reduce our dependency on oil. Oil imports cost the United States an estimated $450 billion in 2011. Even though imports are dropping thanks to fuel efficiency and other innovative developments, we must continue to reduce our dependence on oil and invest in cleaner, more secure fuel options.

To speak with Daniel J. Weiss, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or cdipasquale@americanprogress.org.

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