It’s official: 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is the new fuel economy target for automakers. It’s an historic moment—consumers will save over $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and more than a half-million auto-industry related jobs are expected to be created by 2030 when the standards are fully in place.   Even after accounting for investment in more efficient technology, consumers will save thousands of dollars per vehicle.

Last year the Obama Administration, automakers, and other stakeholders worked together on an outline for the standards, and government agencies  (NHTSA and the EPA) worked hard to develop and finalize the rule.

Consumers Union strongly backed these new standards, and more than 27,000 of you wrote to agencies urging them to move forward and finish the job.

The new mileage standards will build off improvements already slated for 2016, when mileage requirements will reach 35.5 mpg.  Around then there will be a “mid-term review” to see how much progress has been made and recalculate targets if they are too weak (or too ambitious).

Already, we’re seeing vehicles for sale that would meet the standards, and vehicles in every category are offering significantly more fuel-efficient options. Given how much progress has already been made in anticipation of the 2012-2016 standards, it’s likely that the targets will at least be met or surpassed.

Consumers overwhelmingly support these standards, and automakers, small business groups, and environmental groups all agree that they are a step in the right direction towards a brighter energy future.

The standards also help jumpstart job creation in fuel efficient and alternative fuel technology vehicles, and redirect our buying power to more local products and services instead of wasting it on oil.

There may be speed bumps ahead, but this is a great victory for consumers concerned about the rising cost of gasoline and the environment.