Fuel efficiency standards for light trucks and cars just got harder. On Friday, those standards for cars and light trucks got even tougher and extended further to the future. Also, heavy truck gas mileage can be enforced for the first time. ---

President Obama told the government that it needed to step up fuel economy standards, and he had a group of auto and truck executives who support the regulation standing behind him. The president cited the oil spill within the Gulf of


in his remarks about


's long-term energy security and national fuel economy standards.

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National fuel efficiency standards

The executive order on national fuel efficiency standards allows Obama to get the ball rolling without having to wait for Congress. Obama's signature means the Environmental Protection Agency and also the Transportation Department have to develop new fuel and emissions standards that are more strict than rules formally enacted in April. The April rules require that autoloans will purchase new cars that average a minimum of 35.5 miles a gallon by 2016. The president’s new plan also orders a lot more improvements on fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks made in 2017 and beyond and in medium and heavy trucks made from 2014 through 2018. In addition, Mr. Obama’s directive orders a lot more federal support for the creating of new vehicles, such as advanced electric cars, and it instructs the EPA to cut back emissions of other pollutants by motor automobiles, besides all of the greenhouse gases.

Automakers want national fuel efficiency standards.

National fuel efficiency standards are wanted by automakers. A state-by-state approach has threatened them ever since


began trying to enforce tougher fuel efficiency standards than the federal government.

The New York Times reports

that before the president’s original policy a year ago, manufacturers were facing separate greenhouse-gas standards being developed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act; fuel-efficiency standards developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in response to Congressional legislation; and the possibility of separate standards enacted in


and 13 other states.

Truck gas mileage to improve

Environmental groups are trying to get gas mileage standards for heavy trucks for a when.

The Associated Press reports

that despite the fact that medium and heavy trucks represent only 4 percent of all autos on American highways, they still consume a lot more than 20 percent of the fuel burned on the roads, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental advocacy organization. If trucks could just get 3.7 miles to the gallon a lot more it would reduce American oil consumption by 11 billion gallons a year by 2030, the group said.

Better gas mileage saves billions

Better gas mileage standards very well could have an impact on carbon emissions and energy security.

Reuters reports

that environmental statistics show cars and trucks account for more than 60 percent of oil consumption and a lot more than 25 percent of carbon pollution. Reuters said that David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told them that better gas mileage for cars and the first-ever efficiency goals for trucks will conserve consumers billions of dollars in fuel costs.

Additional info at these websites

The New York Times reports


The Associated Press reports


Reuters reports