White House ties new gas mileage standards to global warming
Officials say 35.5 m.p.g. rule will cut foreign oil demand, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save drivers money.
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New rule patterns California's tough standardSkip to next paragraph
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The new rule effectively brings US auto emissions limits into line with California’s tough air pollution requirements, resolving a dispute over whether California could go its own way. That led to a Bush administration decision last year that limited the state’s ability to regulate auto emissions, but has been now reversed. The Obama administration now has one overall standard for the US rather than three -- one for the EPA, the Department of Transportation, and states.
After a 60-day public comment period, EPA and DOT will be required to finalize the new standards by the end of March. Mr. Becker warns that the “devil was in the details” and that the rule must not be riddled with loopholes and exceptions.
For example, the plan includes flexibility mechanisms that automakers have previously used to avoid meeting standards. With the new plug-in electric vehicles, the proposed rules don’t count greenhouse gas emissions connected to generating the electricity needed to charge the vehicles.
Still, there was enthusiasm at the gains.
Better vehicle mileage should help cut oil imports
The UCS projects the new standards would:
• Cut US oil consumption by about 1.3 million barrels per day by 2020, about as much as the US today imports from Saudi Arabia.
• Slash greenhouse gas emissions by 217 million metric tons in 2020, about the same as taking 32 million cars off the road that year.
• Save drivers $26 billion at the pump at a gas price of $2.25 -- even after paying the higher cost for vehicle technology gains. If the cost of gas were $4 a gallon, the standards would save around $60 billion.
Rather than a hardship for industry, the president argued that the new rule would set a clear standard that would help US automakers make strides.
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