ENERGY -- April 1, 2010 at 4:08 PM EDT
New Auto Emissions, Fuel Efficency Standards Set
The federal government on Thursday rolled out the final plan for the nation's first vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards.The new rules, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and U.S. oil consumption, will kick in for most passenger vehicles and light trucks for model years 2012 through 2016.
The program is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 960 million metric tons, or 21 percent by 2030, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation
The new targets will mean an average standard of 35.5 miles-per-gallon for 2016 vehicles, a 40 percent increase over the current fuel economy levels. The fuel efficiency standards are also expected to translate into $3,000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. They will likely tack on an additional $950 in costs for new car buyers.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called the new standards, developed jointly with DOT, "a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet."
The Obama administration outlined plans for tougher emissions standards last May, aimed at slashing emissions and forcing automakers to comply with tighter standards.
The finalization of the emissions standards follows almost three decades of battles between government agencies and automobile manufacturers, concerned about the increasing costs of complying with emissions standards.
Manufacturers have welcomed new rules, which will allow them to comply with a single set of national emissions standards instead of meeting state-by-state benchmarks, according to trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
"The national program announced today makes sense for consumers, for government policymakers and for automakers." said Dave McCurdy, AAM's president, said in a statement.