WASHINGTON – The Obama administration today finalized new fuel standards that will require manufacturers to make more energy-efficient cars by 2016, potentially a key step in cutting emissions and providing momentum for a broader climate change bill.
The new standards require cars to reduce their heat-trapping tailpipe emissions and run at 35 miles-per-gallon starting in 2016, which is about 10 miles higher than current regulations. The measures are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil, as well as an estimated $3,000 for the average family in fuel costs.
“April Fools’ Day is usually reserved for practical jokes,” said US Representative Edward J. Markey, who is chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and is also quite fond of puns. “But today’s April Fuels Day shows how a practical program can help America’s consumers and national security.”
Markey, a Malden Democrat who had pushed for the new standards, today also released a report by the Government Accountability Office that was supportive of a partnership between two federal agencies – the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency – that will make it easier to coordinate regulatory changes in car manufacturing.
He also called on Obama to immediately move to make the fuel efficiency standards more aggressive after 2016.
“President Obama should take this success and build on it by extending new, aggressive fuel economy standards past the next half decade,” he said.
The new standards come at a critical time in the debate over climate change. Obama yesterday announced plans to allow new oil and gas drilling off certain US coasts and Senator John Kerry is also working to get a climate change bill through the Senate.
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About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.