• Jan 25, 2011
Last April, the three main fuel economy regulatory players – the EPA, the DOT and the State of California – announced new CAFE targets for the 2012 through 2016 model years: 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016. If there's one thing U.S. automakers liked about this, it was that we had a "national standard" for fuel economy regulations. The U.S. has been shifting towards a cohesive, nationwide set of rules since 2008 and it looks like we had avoived the dreaded "patchwork" regulations that OEMs were so troubled by.
This week, the regulatory partners announced "a single timeframe for proposing fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks." Whatever MPG number they agree to, we'll hear about it from a singular voice by September 1 instead of an announcement from California in the spring and then a federal one in the fall, as had been expected.

Because of the Clean Air Act, California still had the authority to define its own motor vehicle emissions standards, but the feds have been working to make their own regulations strict enough to keep California happy while providing "certainty" for automakers that are building next-gen clean cars. Last fall, California "accepted compliance with these federal GHG standards," and – for now – everyone is still playing together nicely.

[Source: EPA/DOT/CARB, USAToday | Image: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images]
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EPA, DOT and California Align Timeframe for Proposing Standards for Next Generation of Clean Cars

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of California today announced a single timeframe for proposing fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks. Proposing the new standards on the same timeframe - by September 1, 2011
- signals continued collaboration that could lead to an extension of the current National Clean Car Program, providing automakers certainty as they work to build the next generation of clean, fuel efficient cars. Improving fuel efficiency will save consumers money at the pump, reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and cut emissions of harmful pollutants.

"The single timeframe is another great example of the cooperation that has led us to strong and achievable standards for clean cars in America," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "I'm proud to be working with my federal and state partners on this next step in the process to make the U.S. the world leader in fuel efficient clean cars."

"Today's announcement is a big step forward, but it is only the beginning. By working together with EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop standards for the next generation of clean cars, we can set a standard that works for automakers across the country," said DOT Secretary LaHood. "Our continued collaboration is win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer."

"President Obama's invitation last year to join with the federal agencies to develop new emission and fuel economy standards has resulted in a model of government cooperation to address the important issues of global climate change and urban pollution," said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

In April 2010, DOT and EPA established greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for model year 2012-2016 light-duty cars and trucks. In the fall of 2010, California accepted compliance with these federal GHG standards as meeting similar state standards as adopted in 2004, resulting in the first coordinated national program. The standards require these vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile in model year 2016, which is equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon.

In May 2010, President Obama announced that EPA, DOT and California would begin working together to assess the performance and costs of a variety of technologies that could be available in model years 2017-2025 as the first step in possibly extending the current national emission and fuel economy standards. The three agencies completed an interim technology assessment and have since funded additional research critical to future rulemaking.

With today's announcement, CARB is committing to continue its collaboration with DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA in an effort to establish standards that will provide manufacturers with the regulatory certainty needed to invest today in the kind of new technologies that will provide consumers a full range of efficient clean vehicle choices.

Prior to today's announcement, CARB announced its intention to propose greenhouse gas emission standards for model years 2017 to 2025 in March of this year, while EPA and NHTSA were working on an end of September timeline for proposal. Today's announcement ensures that both proposals will come out simultaneously after a thorough, joint review of all data available when the proposals are issued.

Auto manufacturers are responding to these goals through the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced, and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation in the United States.


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  • 29 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      California should secede from the United States and become the Republik of Kalifornia.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Brilliant. You thought that one up all by yourself during recess or right before naptime?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Extremely significant, and very good news!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rather than this silly CAFE business it would make a heck of a lot more sense to heap all the infrastructure costs of maintaining roads and bridges into the fuel cost. Keep it in a trust away from the politicos who will suck it away to pay for everything else while bridges rot and roads develop canyon sizes potholes.

      The price of fuel would likely go up, but at least we wouldn't have to watch our national infrastructure crumble down around us year after year. It would also keep a steady supply of construction jobs, and probably save money in the long run, since maintenance is generally cheaper than repair.



        • 3 Years Ago
        While you are at it, eliminate all federal petroleum subsidies. No sense in a complicated system subsidizing from one bucket to tax for another. Then make gasoline taxes cover all infrastructure spending (which they currently come nowhere close to covering).

        And eliminate all blending subsidies on ethanol below the mandated level. If you are mandating oil companies to blend ethanol into their gasoline, then the subsidy is not an incentive (they have to do it anyway). If it is above what they are required to do by law, then some sort of subsidy may be in order. However, paying blending subsidies on mandated ethanol is costing the taxpayer to add to the bottom line of oil companies, who weren't huting for money last time I checked.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It will be even better news if they get rid of C.A.R.B. I thinks.
        • 3 Years Ago
        This is America, we shouldn't have to answer to any f'ing EU.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yup, CARB needs to go.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Just get rid of CA.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why? Because you do not like it? Look CARB is there because states feel like they need to do something when Feds refuse to do so.

        It is great to have one standard all across the country, but let’s look at MBTE (I hope it is correct) which is a gasoline additive. Some states have proven research that proves that it pollutes ground water when gasoline escapes from the car. Yet Feds (Bush Administration) did not think that it was dangerous enough to act on it. In such instance states have the right to act on their own to benefit their people.

        I do not want this to be a left vs. right debate, but I think we can all agree that Bush Administration was not very friendly to the environment. Corporations have every right not to sell in those states, and they can easily do so because areas that border California in Nevada and Arizona are very heavily populated. They can just sell cars there and CA residents will have to come over and buy them.

        Chose one

        A) Meet the standards required by state.

        B) Pull out of the state and do not sell there.

        C) Whine and complain.
        • 3 Years Ago
        lol @ CARB haters. Have any of you ever been to CA? The air here is a joke and it's disgusting. I live less than 30 miles from the mountains and can barely see them on the way to work. But it has improved 10 fold since the 70s, I remember as a little kid we would have "Smog Days" and school would be canceled.

        Anyway, if you don't believe me look up some pictures of Los Angeles in the 70s and compare them to recent photos, huge and disgusting difference.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It is simply unsustainable for all 50 states to be able to enact their own emissions regulations. We should be harmonizing all of our auto regulations with the EU. And when it comes down to such intrusive policies that have such a large economic impact on our nation as a whole, it is unconscionable that it is left to a group of unelected bureaucrats who do not have to answer to the voters.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The only people who say that CARB needs to go, are non-Californians.

        Ever hear about Beijing's famously bad air pollution? Rewind 30 years, and that's what California had. From when i was a kid to now, the difference in air quality is quite appreciable.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Here they come. Cue all of the hypocrites who believe states have rights to enact their own laws, EXCEPT when it comes to making the air cleaner for residents of that state. You can't have it both ways guys. Allow state sovereignty to stand IN ALL RESPECTS, or take away all rights and let the feds dictate EVERYTHING. Choose wisely.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Remember how polluted the Los Angeles basin used to be?
      • 3 Years Ago
      oh no.

      When various different bureaucracies agree, hold on to your wallet and your liberties.

      If two federal agencies, and the most invasive state government in the country all agree... that is not good for the people.

      Like spraying an experimental kitchen non-stick spray on a metal saucer sled for a down-hill run on the a slippery slope.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TwinTurbo2...

        1: I was talking about THIS news story, not any other. Government is intrusive. When they agree on how to intrude, they intrude faster and deeper into the liberties of the citizenry. It happens time after time after time. Higher taxes, higher costs, more regulation, more stiffling and costly bureaucracy that only serves the bureaucrats.

        2: Rush Limbaugh, and some Fox News editorialists are just that. Editorial opinion figures. News is supposed to be objective.

        Like Dragnet's catch-line... "Just the facts, Ma'am."

        Nobody in the media has a corner on objectivity and there are worse offenders than the actual news-desk at Fox News. Some of the other sources are blatantly hypocritical in calling themelves objective when they are clearly left-slanted. The question is, which sources admit that the opinions they spin are actually opinions, and which ones back up their opinions with history and logic.

        3: what do you care? I don't give the slightest rip if you think DailyKos or Huffington Post are in any way credible. Good luck backing them up with history, logic, or just reality.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I concur.

        When California agrees..... we lose.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Let me guess, you consider Rush Limbaugh and Faux "News" to be trusted sources?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, glad that the EPA, DOT, AND California can agree. No, the other 49 states don't count. Don't mind us. We're not important.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Abolish CAFE, EPA and others.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is good news, conflicting/multiple standards are never good for any field.

      I only ask that they get a couple physicists to help them come up with the new standards. Most people don't seem to realize that there is only so much energy in a gallon of gas, and it gets exponentially harder to harness the more efficient you get.

      I'm not saying the we shouldn't tighten the standards, just that people need to realize that going from 35 to 45 is not the same as going from 25 to 35.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wrote it here last week, WSJ reported that automakers were pressing on Republicans (who are now the majority in the House) to change these new EPA rules, so nothing is final yet.

      If the House will force EPA and the President to back down, CA and i believe 14 other states will come up with their own standard.

      I want to pint this out, CEOs of auto companies are asking Republicans in the House, so don't act all surprised if CA will set its own rules later on.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Meanwhile California tax payers buy their politicians V8's for them and their wives..

      The pigs are running the farm
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is coming from a Californian. CARB is a joke. They get free reign to pass whatever regulations they want. The science behind most of their claims is C+ work a best. The wonderful thing about California is that we care so much about the environment, the silent majority won't protest what CARB and the new stations claim to be true.

      I love driving down PCH, contemplating the sin tax I have to pay for having an older car (which happens to be a ULEV that gets 28MPG). Yet CARB says I have to pay extra to take the car to a different smog station. All the while, I'm choking because I'm following a school bus that for some reason gets a free pass to blow out black smoke constantly. Once I clear past the black smoke of the school bus, I see a mighty black cloud rising up on the horizon: a container ship, but I don't get a good look because moments later I'm blinded by the black smoke coming out of an old tractor trailer leaving the port.

      But if you really want to talk about pollution, let's talk about the rising level of toxicity in the oceans off of California. Or the pathetic levels of recycling that go on.

      All of this "eco" stuff is just a fad to sell you something new and make you throw out something old. We have been blinded by talk of "carbon" usage to the point where we think it's perfectly OK to cut down the rain forest to grow sugar cane to turn into gas to put into our cars. We ignore the pollution going into the ocean. We ignore reason itself; turning away from the SULEV and PZEV cars that we had 10 years ago; pushing many new cars back up to LEV standards so they could get 1 more MPG. All so you can get something new and ECO.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bloody Knuckle, ::stands up, applause:: BRAVO!! well said.
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