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Obama’s New National Fuel Efficiency Policy

May 19, 2009, WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today – for the first time in history – set in motion a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards, covering model years 2012-2016, and ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain averaging more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions. This would surpass the CAFE law passed by Congress in 2007 required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.

“In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible,” said President Obama. “That is why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington. As a result of this agreement, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. And at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, this rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century.”

This groundbreaking policy delivers on the President’s commitment to enact more stringent fuel economy standards and represents an unprecedented collaboration between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the world’s largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, the State of California, and other state governments.

“The President brought all stakeholders to the table and came up with a plan to help the auto industry, safeguard consumers, and protect human health and the environment for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “A supposedly ‘unsolvable’ problem was solved by unprecedented partnerships. As a result, we will keep Americans healthier, cut tons of pollution from the air we breathe, and make a lasting down payment on cutting our greenhouse gas emissions.”

“A clear and uniform national policy is not only good news for consumers who will save money at the pump, but this policy is also good news for the auto industry which will no longer be subject to a costly patchwork of differing rules and regulations,” said Carol M. Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. “This an incredible step forward for our country and another way for Americans to become more energy independent and reduce air pollution.”

A national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions is welcomed by the auto manufacturers because it provides regulatory certainty and predictability and includes flexibilities that will significantly reduce the cost of compliance. The collaboration of federal agencies also allows for clearer rules for all automakers, instead of three standards (DOT, EPA and a state standard).

“President Obama is uniting federal and state governments, the auto industry, labor unions and the environmental community behind a program that will provide for the biggest leap in history to make automobiles more fuel efficient,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This program lessens our dependence on oil and is good for America and the planet.”

-The EPA

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