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Obama Mandates Government to Develop National Efficiency and Emissions Standards for Cars and Trucks

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President Obama is taking the long view in raising fuel economy and emissions standards for the nation’s vehicles. Last month, the U.S. Government developed strict standards for cars and light trucks made in model years 2012 through 2016, and now Obama is ordering federal agencies to work on developing standards for cars and light trucks made in 2017 and for medium and heavy trucks manufactured in model years 2014 through 2018. And that’s not all–the President also ordered the Department of Energy to increase its support of advanced vehicles (i.e. electric vehicles) and mandated the Environmental Protection Agency to cut down on non-greenhouse-gas pollutants from cars and trucks.

In a speech in the Rose Garden, Obama proclaimed, “I believe that it’s possible in the next 20 years for vehicles to use
half the fuel and produce half the pollution that they do today.” It’s a goal that will require automakers to ramp up fuel efficiency efforts, and fast. No word yet on what the government’s new standards for cars and trucks will entail, but they will be more strict than those announced in April (see our earlier post on the announcement for details).

So while the future of a comprehensive climate bill is still in doubt, at least one sector of the U.S. economy will be forced to clean up its act. And in addition to cutting down on CO2 emissions, the regulations will slash oil use dramatically–according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, cutting down on the average fuel economy of medium and heavy trucks by just 3.7 miles per gallon will cut U.S. oil consumption by 11 billion gallons each year by 2030.

Check out Obama’s speech below.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by e-mail.

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