(WNYC's Money Talking) As Republicans gathered for their national convention in Tampa this week, President Barack Obama stole some of their thunder by announcing that automakers will have to nearly double the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks by 2025.
The new standards mean vehicles will have to get 54.5 miles per gallon, a steep increase from the 29 miles per gallon now required and even the goal of 35 miles per gallon for 2019.
"The car or light truck you'll be driving in 2025 will not be your grandfather's Oldsmobile," wrote U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on his blog "Fast Lane."
The Obama administration said the regulations will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, cut down on pollution, and save drivers thousands at the pump. The White House called them "monumental" and "historic."
But the Romney campaign was quick to label the move “extreme,” saying it limits consumer choice and relies on unproven technologies.
This week on WNYC's Money Talking, two veteran Detroit watchers examine what the fuel efficiency announcement means for the auto industry and whether we'll really see vehicles getting 55 miles per gallon by 2025.
Paul Ingrassia is deputy editor-in-chief of Reuters News and author of the book Engines of Change, which tells the story of how 15 car models shaped American business and culture.
Micheline Maynard has written about the auto industry for a number of publications and wrote the book The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market.
They weigh in on how President Obama is making his mark on how we drive, what we pay at the pump, and how much oil we need.