WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and automakers Friday ushered in the largest cut in fuel consumption since the 1970s with a deal that will save drivers money at the pump and dramatically cut heat-trapping gases coming from tailpipes.
The agreement pledges to double overall fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, bringing even greater under-the-hood changes to the nation's automobiles starting in model year 2017. Cars and trucks on the road today average 27 mpg.
But the mileage target announced Friday isn't exactly what consumers will see in their future cars. A formula that gives credits to manufacturers for electric cars, the use of low-emission air conditioning refrigerant and technology that shuts down engines at traffic lights means the actual standard is likely to come in closer to 40 mpg.
When achieved, the new target will reduce U.S. oil consumption from vehicles by 40 percent and halve the amount of greenhouse gas pollution coming out of tailpipes.
For American families, the president said the agreement — which will be subject to a mid-course review — means filling up the car every two weeks, instead of every week. That would save $8,000 in fuel costs over the life of a vehicle purchased in 2025, compared to a 2010 model, a White House analysis said.
The changes also are likely to push up the cost of a new vehicle, but just how much is unclear because the regulation still has to be written. That process will get started in September.