• Sep 15, 2009
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]



PRESS RELEASE:

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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