New auto fuel efficiency standards will cut a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced landmark new federal rules that set the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards and will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States
The new Light Vehicle Duty Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Corporate Economy Fuel Standards, which will cost automakers $52 billion to implement, could potentially save the average buyer of a 2016 model year car $3,000 over the life of the vehicle and, nationally, will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lives of the vehicles covered.
On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, EPA's Jackson said the benefit of $190 billion far outweighs the cost of the new rule.
“By working together with industry and capitalizing on our capacity for innovation, we’ve developed a clean cars program that is a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet," Jackson told reporters.
Also on the call was Tranportation Secretary Ray Lahood, who added, “These historic new standards set ambitious, but achievable, fuel economy requirements for the automotive industry that will also encourage new and emerging technologies."
Starting with 2012 model year vehicles, the rules require automakers to improve fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5 percent every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established fuel economy standards that strengthen each year reaching an estimated 34.1 mpg for the combined industry-wide fleet for model year 2016.
“These are the first national standards ever to address climate change,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy. “Over the coming years, America will witness an amazing leap forward in vehicle technologies, delivering fuel efficiency that will save us money and protect the environment.”
NHTSA and EPA expect car and light truck manufacturers will meet these standards by more widespread adoption of conventional technologies that are already in commercial use, like more efficient engines, transmissions, tires, aerodynamics, and materials.
Although the standards can be met with conventional technologies, EPA and NHTSA also expect that some manufacturers may choose to pursue more advanced fuel-saving technologies like hybrid vehicles, clean diesel engines, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles. "We're bullish on lithium-ion [batteries]," said Administrator Jackson.
Jackson said auto manufacturers will appreciate the security of having a single national standard to build their light-duty national fleets around. The new rules will satisfy all federal requirements as well as the more aggressive standards of California and other states.
Luxury and sports car makers like Porsche, who had been lobbying EPA and DOT to be excluded from the new rules did not win a total exemption, but rather a little more time to meet the new standards.
DOT and EPA received more than 130,000 public comments on the September 2009 proposed rules, with overwhelming support for the strong national policy.