Obama to unveil big increase in required mpg
New rule will set 42 mpg for cars starting in 2016, sources say
updated 11 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions tied to smog and global warming, sources said Monday.
President Barack Obama was expected to adopt the higher mileage standards on Tuesday, administration sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.
The new requirement will mark the first time that limits on greenhouse gases will be linked to federal standards for cars and light trucks.
While the 30 percent increase would be an average for both cars and light trucks, the percentage increase in cars would be much greater, according to the New York Times, rising from the current 27.5 mpg standard to 42 mpg starting in 2016. The average for light trucks would rise from 24 mpg to 26.2 mpg.
California, 13 other states and the District of Columbia had earlier urged the federal government to let them enact more stringent standards than the federal government's requirements. The states' regulations would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and trucks by 2016.
Will phase in new standards
Administration sources said the Obama administration will adopt the 30 percent goal with the 2016 deadline, and will phase it in starting with 2011 vehicle models.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, thanked the Obama administration for bringing together "the federal government, the State of California, and the auto industry behind new national automobile emissions standards that follow California’s lead.
"This is good news for all of us who have fought long and hard to reduce global warming pollution, create clean energy jobs, and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil," she added.
Environmentalists also praised the move. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, called it "one of the most significant efforts undertaken by any president, ever, to end our addiction to oil and seriously slash our global warming emissions."
Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, described it as "a triple play: It will help move America off foreign oil, save families money and spur American businesses to take the lead in developing the job-creating, clean-energy technologies of the future."
Obama's plan also would effectively end litigation between states and automakers. The latter had opposed state-specific rules, arguing that having to meet several state standards would be much more expensive for them than just one federal rule.
The Detroit News reported that automakers were on board with the new rule because of that, and because they worked with the administration on creating a timeline for the transition.
The new federal rule would also prompt automakers to drop their lawsuit. Two car companies that have been part of the litigation, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, have received billions in government loans during a plunge in car sales amid a weakened economy.
Top automaker executives are expected to attend the Tuesday announcement, The Detroit News said, as are Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.