Obama announces deal to cut costs at the pump for consumers

According to an Associated Press report, President Barack Obama and the nation’s auto manufacturers announced a plan today that is supposed to save drivers money on fuel expenses and cut “heat-trapping gases coming from tailpipes.” But don’t get too excited just yet – the deal doesn’t mean fuel prices are going to go down right away.

The agreement “pledges to double overall fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025,” the AP reports – which basically means that auto manufacturers are supposed to start producing more fuel efficient vehicles starting in 2017. The agreement is projected to reduce U.S. oil consumption by 40 percent, and to halve our nation’s greenhouse gas pollution. Furthermore, the president said, the agreement will lead to vehicles that save American families about $8,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a vehicle.

So here’s our take: We think it’s all well and good to reduce the nation’s oil consumption, and we support any and all efforts to do so. However, down here in the South, where unemployment is on the rise and here locally, where fuel prices are among the highest in the state, we’d like to see an immediate effort to lower the price of a gallon of gas. We tend to think there’s big problem when a single gallon of gas is equal to approximately half the current minimum wage per hour. And it’s also reasonable to say that while cars and trucks that get more than 50 miles per gallon is a noble goal for our nation, it’s unlikely that the average blue collar family will be able to afford to trade in the vehicles they already own free and clear for a brand new one that comes with a payment. (Remember the Cash for Clunkers program? According to CNW Research, the repossession rate doubled for lower income families who utilized that program, and those families also tended to make their payments late.)

So we want to know: What do you think? And we’d also like to know, do you have any suggestions for reducing the price of fuel? Share your thoughts with us here, or feel free to post them to the Banner-News Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BannerNewsMagnolia?ref=ts

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