Guest post by Chris Agass
Strict new vehicle fuel efficiency standards, introduced by Obama this week, have highlighted the bitter divide between Republicans and Democrats on tackling energy and climate change.
As the US election this November draws closer, the decision to increase minimum fuel efficiency standards on new US-made cars and trucks from 34.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2016 to 54.5 mpg in 2025 has been criticised by Republicans.
The new standards are expected to put pressure on car manufacturers to bring in electric cars, as well as improve the performance of current models, suggests the The New York Times.
Ignoring the environmental imperatives for improving fuel efficiency, the Republicans say it is an example of costly government interference and say they will scrap the ruling if Mitt Romney is elected US president.
“The president tells voters that his regulations will save them thousands of dollars at the pump,” Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign told the New York Times,“but always forgets to mention that the savings will be wiped out by having to pay thousands of dollars more upfront for unproven technology that they may not even want”, referring to the more expensive price electric vehicles will cost consumers.
President Obama disagrees, calling it “historic” and “the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependency on foreign oil” according to the Washington Post.
While it may have given the republicans a chance to step up their wider attack on Obama’s energy plans, the new standards have been publicly backed by the auto manufacturing industry, according to The Christian Science Monitor.