Obama And Clean Cars: One For The History Books


Mileage sticker from older model Dodge Dakota. Image credit:EastPlaza
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TreeHugger "business & politics" blogger Brian Merchant sparked a great discussion yesterday when he wrote about the Obama administration's proposed new fuel-economy standards to be announced today.

This is one for the history books, folks. The Sierra Club and others have tackled this issue in so many ways, over so many years, it's hard to recount all the letter-writing campaigns, rallies, court hearings, phone-banks, flyers, and other tactics to get what we're getting today: the first national tailpipe standard for global-warming emissions. Today's good news also involves new vehicle fuel economy standards - check out this blurb from the fact sheet given to today's attendees of the White House announcement ceremony (we have several folks there):

The proposed national autos program adopts uniform federal standards to regulate both fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving the legal authorities of (the Department of Transportation), (the Environmental Protection Agency) and California. The program covers model year 2012 to model year 2016 and ultimately requires an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016. The result is a projected reduction in oil consumption of approximately 1.8 billion barrels over the life of the program and a projected total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 900 million metric tons. This groundbreaking policy is good for consumers, good for the auto industry and it helps our country by reducing pollution and promoting energy independence.
Today's ruling is for one national policy emissions rule for all automakers, instead of three standards: a DOT standard, an EPA standard and a California standard that would apply to 13 other states. California has agreed to defer to this standard until 2016.

President Obama is still expected to grant California the Clean Air Act waiver for its clean cars program that the state has long been seeking . That's a rather complicated issue, and I provided some background in a TreeHugger post I wrote in February. Check it out -- it might help explain some of today's big news.

In my years of working on environmental issues, I have to say that this move is one of the most significant efforts undertaken by any president -- ever -- to end our addiction to oil and seriously slash our global warming emissions. It's yet another step by this administration to help move us into a clean-energy economy.  President Obama clearly sees the big picture, and we should all do what we can to support such forward-thinking actions.

Additional CAFE standard posts.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Digs Deeper Hole, Says CAFE Will ...
Extra Extra: CAFE Standards Kill, Moving in with Mom at 52 ...
Forget MPG, and CAFE, Think About VMT

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