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In May, President Barack
Obama set in motion a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy
and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks in the United
States. The new standards covering automobile model years 2012 to 2016, and
ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of [35.5 miles per
gallon] 15.09 kilometers per liter in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion
barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain of more
than five percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric
tons in greenhouse gas emissions.
The new standards would surpass those required by the Corporate Average Fuel
Economy [CAFE] law enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2007, which required an
average fuel economy of [35 miles per gallon] 14.88 kilometers per liter in
2020. The Administration's policy represents an unprecedented collaboration
between the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, the world's largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto
Workers union, leaders in the environmental community, the State of California,
and other state governments in the United States.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standards "will keep Americans
healthier, cut tons of pollution from the air we breathe, and make a lasting
down payment on cutting our greenhouse gas emissions."
"This program lessons our dependence on oil and is good for America and
the planet," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered
impossible," said President Obama. "That is why this announcement is
so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but
the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington [D.C.] As a
result of this agreement, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the
lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years," he said. "And
at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, this rule provides the clear
certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they
are building the cars of the 21st century."