Fuel efficiency standards rising by nearly 50%

(NBC) - New rules will be phased in by 2016 requiring cars and trucks on America's roads to get 35.5 miles per gallon, almost 50 percent more than required currently.

"Those new standards will be finalized, which will reduce our dependence on oil while helping folks spend a little less at the pump," President Barack Obama said of Thursday's announcement. "So my administration is upholding its end of the deal."

The deal was, with automakers on board, rules they can count on.

"We're pleased that there is going to be one clear national roadmap that's going to apply to all 50 states," Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' Gloria Bergquist said.

Environmentalists stung by the President's drilling news are cheering this.

"I think we'll see probably 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles," said Steve Cochran, director of Environmental Defense Fund's National Climate Campaign.

Vehicles like Nissan's electric Leaf, GM's super efficient Volt and Ford's direct-injection turbocharge technology are all in the pipeline and set to save oil, almost 2 million barrels.

"That's like taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year," Obama said.

It will save drivers in gas money, but cost them an extra $1,000 or so when they buy a car.

"We're asking consumers to step up with us and buy some of these fuel efficient technologies," Bergquist said. "It'll save them money, ultimately, and it'll help reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

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