Pew Campaign Helps Cut Dependence on Foreign Oil

“This is a historic move that will decrease our dangerous dependency on foreign oil, save consumers who are paying too much for a gallon of gas and put us on the road to significant greenhouse gas savings.”

-Phyllis Cuttino, director, Clean Energy Program

In 2007, as global concern over climate change, gas prices and dependence on foreign oil reached its height, the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency helped win the first increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in more than 30 years.

The campaign achieved its goal when President George W. Bush signed the law requiring automakers to boost fleetwide gas mileage to 35 mpg by 2020. This requirement is expected to save 1.1 million barrels of oil a day and $25 billion for consumers—making the auto industry the first major sector of the U.S. economy to reduce its carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking 28 million cars off the road.

For Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's Clean Energy program, “this is an historic move that will decrease our dangerous dependency on foreign oil, save consumers who are paying too much for a gallon of gas and put us on the road to significant greenhouse gas savings.”

In 2009, President Barack Obama accelerated federal fuel efficiency standards, requiring a fleetwide average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Beyond 2016, the Obama administration is working to address fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in model years 2017 to 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a range of 47 to 62 mpg by 2025, reflecting an annual fuel efficiency increase of 3 to 6 percent. “This will be win, win, win,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “It will reduce reliance on oil, strengthen energy security and mitigate climate change.”