SEATTLE - New fuel efficiency standards agreed to about a year ago by major automakers have been officially finalized by the U.S. Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cars and light-duty trucks will have to get an average of just over 54 miles per gallon by model year 2025 - almost double what they get today.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the auto industry has been and will be creating jobs in an effort to reach the 2025 standards.
"I think we know that the American people want more fuel-efficient cars. That's why they're wildly popular right now. And the car manufacturers are responding to that by increasing capacity."
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to overturn the fuel-efficiency rules if elected, saying they would hurt domestic automakers and benefit some of the foreign car manufacturers. But the Obama administration says the U.S. auto industry backs the new standards, as does the United Auto Workers' union.
The administration predicts the move will lower U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels a year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save drivers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump.
At a Tuesday news conference, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was asked if other industries - such as coal, oil and natural gas - might take a cue from Detroit's cooperation. She praised the carmakers.
"They're not trying to make regulations go away. They know that the government can help consumers by saving money at the pump. They want to make sure that they're on a level playing field. And what they've asked for all along is one nationwide standard."
The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates the change would mean Washington drivers in future years could use 510 million fewer gallons of gas per year than they do now.