Obama Announces New National Fuel Standards

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At a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, President Obama, flanked by state and congressional lawmakers, Cabinet secretaries, and auto executives, announced a new national fuel efficiency policy.

The program covers auto model year 2012 to model year 2016 and ultimately requires an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016. The White House estimates a reduction in oil consumption of around 1.8 billion barrels over the life of the program and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of about 900 million metric tons.

The end result is 5 percent yearly increases in efficiency, savings that are equivalent of removing 177 million of today’s cars off the road.

Center for American Progress Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy Daniel J. Weiss praised the new standards in the following statement:

The new clean car standard…announced by President Barack Obama is a triple play: It will help move America off foreign oil, save families money, and spur American businesses to take the lead in developing the job-creating, clean-energy technologies of the future.

The new standard will dramatically reduce oil use and help make cars go significantly further on a gallon of gas. It will also help American car companies make the super-clean cars of the future. And finally, it will help us compete with China, whose leaders have already announced their intention to become the worldwide leader in the production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. They are currently investing $12.6 million every hour in greening China’s economy, which is six times the amount of comparable U.S. investments.

Moreover, the fact that this announcement has the support of the auto industry is yet another indication of the growing consensus within the business community that Congress needs to take strong action on energy reform—and it needs to do it now. We applaud President Obama for his continued leadership on this issue.  

The United Auto Workers and ten car companies are behind the new national plan because it provides certainty to 2016 and reduces the cost of compliance.  

Meanwhile, Congress is considering sweeping legislation called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, cosponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

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