We know that gas prices are rising again, as they did last year. And we know that families across the country are feeling the pinch. While there is no silver bullet to solve this challenge immediately, there are a lot of things we can do to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and provide Americans with affordable transportation to their jobs and schools.
And, as President Obama said yesterday, we're not limiting ourselves to just one of those strategies; to ease Americans' pain at the pump, we're using "an all-of-the-above approach."
For example, this Administration has put in place the first-ever fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks. We also proposed the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history, requiring an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Over time, these new standards will save consumers more than $8,000 per vehicle in lower fuel costs.
We're also helping Americans save money at the pump by offering folks other choices for getting where they need to go. The Federal Transit Administration has been a robust champion of these choices, supporting transit upgrades, new capital transit investments, and transit planning in communities across the country. And, as we learned yesterday, in 2011 Americans took 10.4 billion rides on buses, ferries, commuter rail, subways, light rail, and streetcars.
In some communities, we've helped make it easier to take some trips on foot or on a bicycle. Believe it or not, increasing the share of short trips that are not taken by car can make a huge difference in your gas tank.
In addition to developing affordable transportation options, we're also developing our domestic production of energy. In fact, domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year President Obama has been in office. In 2011, American oil production reached the highest level in nearly a decade, and natural gas production reached an all-time high.
And last year, the American refining industry was a net exporter for the first time in sixty years,
A year ago, the President set a bold but achievable goal of reducing oil imports by a third in a little over a decade. Thanks to booming U.S. oil and gas production, more efficient cars and trucks, and a world-class refining sector, we have already cut net imports by ten percent – or a million barrels a day – in the last year alone. And with the new fuel economy standards the President announced last year, we are on pace to meet our goal by the end of the decade.
Look, rising gas prices are not easy to live with. That's why we're not just living with them. Instead, we're working night and day on many different ways to reduce our nation’s vulnerability to the ups and downs of the global oil market.