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Back in May, the Obama Administration raised the national CAFE standard to 35.5 mpg (for cars and trucks) by 2016. The higher standard would build from the 27.3 mpg 2011 standard and go up five percent each year until 2016. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation issued a joint statement proposing just how the two agencies will work together to reach the higher standard required for model year 2012-2016 vehicles.

The 35.5 mpg number from the CAFE regulations can be reached, the DOT and EPA say, if all MY 2016 vehicles have "an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile" (to compare, that would be 155 g/km using the European g/km measurement) and that target is met by improving fuel economy. We can't help but think that a focus on CO2 instead of mpg is needed in light of new claims that cars can get 230 mpg.

The two agencies say that the new standard will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil, reduce greenhouse gases by 950 metric tons and save "the average car buyer" over $3,000 in fuel costs. The main point, though, is that everyone involved has agreed to combine the CAFE standards and EPA's greenhouse gas emissions standards into one, making it clear what automakers have to do to sell cars in any state in the Union.

Considering the long fight that the Auto Alliance had with California and other states that wanted to adopt more stringent rules than the Bush-era EPA was willing to declare, the EPA and DOT's proposal appeals to Alliance president Dave McCurdy. "Final rules are essential to providing manufacturers with the certainty and lead time necessary to plan for the future and cost effectively add new technology," he said. "We look forward to working constructively with the Obama administration to provide comments and begin meeting our shared goals of increasing fuel economy, enhancing energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through this single national program." Press releases are after the jump, as is information on how to comment on the EPA and DOT's proposed rule over the next 60 days.

[Source: EPA/DOT, Auto Alliance]


DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Propose National Program to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Greenhouse Gases

New Interagency Program to Address Climate Change and Energy Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today jointly proposed a rule establishing an historic national program that would improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases. Their proposal builds upon core principles President Obama announced with automakers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, governors and state officials in May, and would provide coordinated national vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions standards. The proposed program would also conserve billions of barrels of oil, save consumers money at the pump, increase fuel economy, and reduce millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

"American drivers will keep more money in their pockets, put less pollution into the air, and help reduce a dependence on oil that sends billions of dollars out of our economy every year," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "By bringing together a broad coalition of stakeholders – including an unprecedented partnership with American automakers – we have crafted a path forward that is win-win for our health, our environment, and our economy. Through that partnership, we've taken the historic step of proposing the nation's first ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles, and moved substantially closer to an efficient, clean energy future."

"The increases in fuel economy and the reductions in greenhouse gases we are proposing today would bring about a new era in automotive history," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "These proposed standards would help consumers save money at the gas pump, help the environment, and decrease our dependence on oil – all while ensuring that consumers still have a full range of vehicle choices."

Under the proposed program, which covers model years 2012 through 2016, automobile manufacturers would be able to build a single, light-duty national fleet that satisfies all federal requirements as well as the standards of California and other states. The proposed program includes miles per gallon requirements under NHTSA's Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) program and the first-ever national emissions standards under EPA's greenhouse gas program. The collaboration of federal agencies for this proposal also allows for clearer rules for all automakers, instead of three standards (DOT, EPA, and a state standard).

Specifically, the program would:
  • Increase fuel economy by approximately five percent every year
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons
  • Save the average car buyer more than $3,000 in fuel costs
  • Conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil
Increase Fuel Economy and Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions:
The proposed national program would require model year 2016 vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. Under the proposed program, the overall light-duty vehicle fleet would reach 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2016, if all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements. If this occurs, Congress' fuel economy goal of 35.0 mpg by 2020 will be met four years ahead of schedule. This would surpass the CAFE law passed by Congress in 2007, which required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.
Reduce Greenhouse Gases:
Climate change poses a significant long-term threat to America 's environment. The vehicles subject to the proposed rules announced today are responsible for almost 60 percent of all U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. These will be the nation's first ever national greenhouse gas standards. The proposed standards would require model year 2016 vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile under EPA's greenhouse gas program. The combined EPA and NHTSA standards would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the light-duty vehicle fleet by about 21 percent in 2030 over the level that would occur in the absence of any new greenhouse gas or fuel economy standards. The greenhouse gas emission reductions this program would bring about are equivalent to the emissions of 42 million cars.

Save Consumers Money:
NHTSA and EPA estimate that U.S. consumers who purchase their vehicle outright would save enough in lower fuel costs over the first three years to offset the increases in vehicle costs. Consumers would save more than $3,000 due to fuel savings over the lifetime of a model year 2016 vehicle.

Conserve Oil and Increase Energy Security:
The light-duty vehicles subject to this proposed National Program account for about 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption. The program will provide important energy security benefits by conserving 1.8 billion barrels of oil, which is twice the amount of oil (crude oil and products) imported in 2008 from the Persian Gulf countries, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration Office. These standards also provide important energy security benefits as light-duty vehicles account for about 60 percent of transportation oil use.

Within the Auto Industry's Reach:
EPA and NHTSA have worked closely to develop this coordinated joint proposal and have met with many stakeholders including automakers to insure the standards proposed today are both aggressive and achievable given the current financial state of the auto industry.

NHTSA and EPA expect automobile manufacturers would meet these proposed standards by improving engine efficiency, transmissions and tires, as well as increasing the use of start-stop technology and improvements in air conditioning systems. EPA and NHTSA also anticipate that these standards would promote the more widespread use of advanced fuel-saving technologies like hybrid vehicles and clean diesel engines.

NHTSA and EPA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins with publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments are at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm for EPA and http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.43ac99aefa80569eea57529cdba046a0/
for NHTSA.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
NHTSA has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed CAFE standards. The Draft EIS compares the environmental impacts of the agency's proposal and reasonable alternatives. NHTSA is providing a 45-day comment period on the Draft EIS. Information on the submission of comments is provided at the above NHTSA Web address

Statement of Dave McCurdy on National Program for GHG/Fuel Economy Proposal

Washington, D.C. – "Last May, automakers committed to President Obama to increase the average fuel economy in new vehicles by 40 percent to a combined 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. This historic joint-rulemaking proposal released today by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration creates a coordinated national approach for increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gases and prevents competing regulations at the state and federal level.

The proposal provides manufacturers with a roadmap for meeting significant increases for model years 2012-2016. Final rules are essential to providing manufacturers with the certainty and lead time necessary to plan for the future and cost effectively add new technology. We look forward to working constructively with the Obama administration to provide comments and begin meeting our shared goals of increasing fuel economy, enhancing energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through this single national program.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its funny how that silly liberal wants a chart with 10,000 years worth of data when his side doesn't have one to support global warming is real!

      For one thing, how do you explain a recent 10 year study of the solar system that says ALL the planets are heating up?!

      Don't see many cars on mars my friend. If you think we are in trouble then YOU buy the stupid electric car which is going to screw our power grid and send prices soaring, I shouldn't have too. I have liberty and freedom. Hell walk! Its amazing how many libs won't put there money where there mouth is. Ride a bike to work. Show me the correct way to live and maybe I will become a believer.

      Libs bitch about Christians forcing there religion down their throats and then do the same thing with their stupid ideas! Ideas we ALL end up paying dearly for.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was never very good in math, so maybe my numbers are a bit off on this, but help me out here.

      The government wants an average Co2 reading of 250 grams per mile.

      At, fueleconomy.gov it lists the Co2 output of cars in tons per year (where 15,000 miles = 1 year)

      So, 250grams multiplied by 15,000 miles equals: 3,750,000 grams a year.

      Convert that number into U.S. tons and you get about 4.14.

      So, that means, the average vehicle sold by 2016 needs to put out less than 4.14 tons of Co2 a year.

      Going by the fueleconomy.gov website, the ONLY vehicle I could find that is currently listed as putting out less than 4.14 tons of Co2 a year is the Toyota Prius.

      Am I wrong in my math somewhere? Is it really true that the government wants automobile manufacturers to adhere to this ridiculous number? If a Honda Insight or Ford Fusion Hybrid doesn't meet these numbers now, how are trucks going to do it in 9 years or less? I have to be missing something?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's what I am talking about. Cap-n-tax is going to destroy life as we know it - and I am NOT exaggerating. This is the kind of nonsense that is in there. Not to mention that CO2 levels fluctuate over time due to the effect of the sun on the planet - so the whole thing is nuts in the first place!
        Please take 90 minutes and watch this all the way through. It is WELL worth your time:
        • 5 Years Ago
        yes, it's called the volt, it is the jesus car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice, its about time. GO GREEN! e cigarette
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is such BS. Natural climate change causes CO2 - not the other way around! The SUN causes natural fluctuations in the climate people. Anthropomorphic climate change is such a humanistic egotistical FARCE. We will all pay DEARLY if this swindle makes it into law.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You mean global warming doesn't exist? C02 levels rising faster than the national dept are no big deal? I am so relieved. Now I can go burn that mountain of peer reviewed scientific papers from all over the globe and head on over to some political whitewash site. I am saved!

        As car enthusiasts all we can hope for is that perhaps this might signify a harmonization of standards between the EU and USA. One has to assume the existing pollution control limits on other emissions will remain. Car makers shouldn't have to waste so much time and money dealing with the differences in standards.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope, you're spreading the BS. Natural climate change? Do you have a spreadsheet of the last 10,000 years that accurately measures C02 levels so you can actually justify that statement? That brown haze over cities on a humid day is as real as it gets and you don't need a spreadsheet do see the effects. Keep pushing the mentality, we'll all find out soon enough who's going to be 'paying dearly'.

        From the American Heart Association:

        "research has estimated that people living in the most polluted U.S. cities could lose between 1.8 and 3.1 years because of exposure to chronic air pollution. This has led some scientists to conclude that
        1. Short-term exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is associated with a higher risk of death due to a cardiovascular event.
        2. Hospital admissions for several cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases rise in response to higher concentrations of particle pollution.
        3. Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is a factor in reducing overall life expectancy by a few years."

        Awesome eh? Listen, I'm not saying cars are the only cause of airbourne pollutants, but they are a significant contributer. The more we can do to balance our love for the automobile with the need to continue living on Earth, the better. Hey they aren't saying you can't drive, they are just saying new cars will be more efficient, which saves the planet...
        • 5 Years Ago
        you're spreading B.S.

        do you think the sun causes the smog in cities like Los Angelos and others?

        it's about time america is becoming serious.
        the highest wages in the world but the most used word on this blog is 'overpriced'?

        the american system sucks from head to ars.
        cheap fuel, very low tax on goods or none at all.

        for example in the Netherlands VAT: 19% on all luxoury goods, 6% on food and litle more.
        a single unmarried person donates around 40% of his monthly wage to the state, germany = 50%. + healtinsurance (netherlands +/-90€/month for each person in a family)
        buy a car in the netherlands according the old methode from a few years back sticker + 20%BPM + 19% VAT, now it's sticker + between 10 and 20% according the CO2 emission + 19% VAT.
        Denmark even more and they are happy to pay it, they have lots of free things, like free daycare for childderen en school.

        why do the habitants of the 'still' worlds biggest economy has so much trouble from seprating from their money.
        why are they so greedy?
        why do they not care about the 40+ million fellow habitants that aren't insured.
        didn't your mom learn how to share?

        don't you guys see that the system doesn't work and debt got over a 10 trillian and increasing by the day?

        USA needs to take a serious mature look @ their tax system
        - 19% VAT on luxury good like a TV, laptop, ipod, lawnmower, etc, etc.
        - car sticker + 10-20% vihicle tax (according to emission) + 19%vat.
        - 6% on food, medicine, daipers, etc, etc.

        it's a lunatic laugh, when i read that the californian gov: ....
        'Dispensaries have already been paying a rate of $1.20 per $1,000 of gross receipts. Measure F would create a separate category for marijuana sellers, at a rate of $18 per $1,000 of sales. Sales taxes is already assessed on purchases.'

        a 19,20us$ per 1000us$ sold?
        that aint even 2%.

        the recent article about china tyres, only 4% vat?

        USA has fooled the world long enough, now it's time to payback.
        USA is a total illusion, europe doesn't have that extreme difference between poor and rich.
        jobless have a social income, no1 is left behind here, as long as you know the rules and play by the rules.

        obama said, something a while back about taxing more on people than earn more than 200.000 or something.
        w.t.h, it's everybody's problem each and everyone should participate.

        if i look @ programs, like dirty jobs, etc, etc and see for example a plumber drive a pickup, with hardly any tools and materials(less than 200 pounds) in the back, drive a frigging pickup?

        it takes lots of energy to propel a 2 ton+ vihicle with an auto gearbox to cruise speed.

        or the episode with the 'Vexcon' Pest Control, 3 people, 3 pickups and not even 50 pounds in weight of tools.

        please explain me why.
        why is it so hard to give up something?

        the one time you need to move something big, just rent a vihicle for that occasion and ...

        you're right that the world itself does cause a significant amount of the C02, methane from the swamps and ocean floor, valcanic activity.
        but the smog in the cities is caused by PEOPLE.

        you want to live healty, don't ya?

        even if you don't smoke, traffic causes a very fine particle dust that penatrates in your longs.
        believe it or not, but a 50cc two stroke engine causes more micro particle dust than a car.

        this is one of the causes, non smokers get lung cancer.

        man get adult and take your responsebility and stop being greedy, show that you care about fellow citizins.
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 Well said

        Also, "save the average car buyer $3,000"? Over what, the life of the car? That's almost certainly gonna be negated by the price premium of the technology in the car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Please take 90 minutes and watch the program in 9 episodes linked below. Please watch the whole thing. You owe it to your children and grandchildren.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ dondonel

      Google "Federal Test Procedure (FTP)".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do they factor in how much more CO2 blowhard politicians and media spew than the average driver?
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL. No but they are now looking at the flatulence of cows and the co2 emitted by them. Maybe people are next?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This does nothing to make cars more efficient when it comes to the amount of oil consumed, it just reduced the amount of co2. How is that helpful?
      • 5 Years Ago
      What brand of SUV's do the Martians drive?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does anyone know what is the procedure for measuring CO2 emissions? Do they account for traffic conditions, like in the case of the mpg rating? If so, why don't we have a cty/hwy rating? Or is the measurement made just at idle? (that would be useless)
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's measured by collecting the emisions from the vehicle driven on the FTP cycle. The same cycle that is used to calculate the city/highway MPG. I'm assuming this CO2 rating would be equivalent to a Combined MPG rating.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think chintzy little cheeseboxes with CO2 g/m on the window stickers are going to go over like a lead balloon in the real world.

      People like high MPG, enough to compromise a lot of things to get it. More miles, less dollars, straight forward self interest, win.

      But except to San Fran greenbeans, CO2 doesn't even warrant a yawn and a gram isn't even an American unit of measurement.

      • 5 Years Ago

      So, instead of going with a plan that has been proven to work (higher gas prices mean we drive more efficient cars, period), we're leaving the onus - as always - on the manufacturers, to build /to/ the standards, and then hope the buying public catches on.

      More misguided BS from our dipsticks here in DC...
        • 5 Years Ago
        No worries, the R20 already meets the current standard.
        more importantly, many of our volt fans keep outlining how the volt's expected to sell in low expensive numbers during the MkI process and assure us the technology will be a lot cheaper in subsequent generations. Take into account the normal 3-5 year cycle and we should have a $30,000 car with over 200mpg in 2013 and a $20,000 car in 2016. Looks like these goals are uber achievable if the crystal balls here are to be believed
        • 5 Years Ago
        (replying to a reply above)

        Taxing gas guzzlers is stupid. Loophole after loophole there.

        Taxing gasoline is smart.
        • 5 Years Ago
        here in europe we have both.

        co2 tax system + high fuel price + road use tax + vat + high income tax.

        why do have americans problems separating from their money?
        ameircans pay rediculous low tax, highest wage in the world and all they do is complain.

        tax is used to help your fellow citizins.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let me explain it to the dumb liberals.

      You save $3000 in fuel, you PAY $6000 more in taxes, fees, etc. probably and end up with cars you don't want.

      Going green ALWAYS costs you more - more money, more freedom.

      Stop the lie people, the planet is fine. This is a way to tax you MORE.

      If they want to regulate CO2, how about starting with the chief polluters - Obama and Pelosi. The stink comiing from them is rancid, not to mention the methane gas from their backsides.

      Assuming global warming were real - its NOT, CO2 by humans is a tiny amount and scientists have admitted we can do nothing to reduce it drastically enough.

      I also am NOT happy with allowing China and India to do whatever the hell they want while Americans lose jobs and our way of life.

      Obama your a ONE term Prez, if you don't get impeached.


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