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Obama Orders Regulators to Revisit Fuel Standards

President Barack Obama pledged renewed U.S. leadership to fight global warming Monday, as he ordered regulators to revisit the tightening of fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks. Experts debate the significance of the announcement for automakers.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The president directed the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Perez Jackson, to evaluate whether states have the authority to regulate vehicle pollution.

    In 2007, the Bush administration denied a request by California to impose more restrictive greenhouse gas emissions standards. More than a dozen other states have adopted California's proposed restrictions, which would force automakers to cut emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016.

    EPA Administrator Jackson is widely expected to give the states that authority.

  • U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. My administration will not deny facts; we will be guided by them. We cannot afford to pass the buck or push the burden onto the states.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the development at a news conference in Sacramento this afternoon.

  • GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R-Calif.:

    For too long, Washington has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to the environment. Now California finally has a partner and an ally in Washington at the White House.

    And let me again be clear: This has absolutely nothing to do in punishing the automakers. As a matter of fact, what we want to do is just give them a little push to be innovative and to develop new techniques that will ultimately make better cars that will be more competitive around the world.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Mr. Obama said his decision was not intended as a slight to the U.S. auto industry.

    The president also ordered the Department of Transportation to move forward on implementing new fuel efficiency guidelines for cars sold in 2011.

  • BARACK OBAMA:

    Increasing fuel efficiency in our cars and trucks is one of the most important steps that we can take to break our cycle of dependence on foreign oil. It will also help spark the innovation needed to ensure that our auto industry keeps pace with competitors around the world.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Today, automakers indicated they will comply with the new rules. Dave McCurdy is president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

    DAVE MCCURDY, president and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: What we're asking for is clarity, simplicity, making sure that we don't have different structures, different timelines, and different compliance requirements. If we can reduce that differences, then I think we have an opportunity to really advance the ball, which is the bottom line.

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