January 26, 2009
Obama directs reconsideration of California auto emission standard waiver and raising CAFE standards to 35 mpg
President Obama announced today that he had directed EPA to reconsider California's waiver application under Title II of the Clean Air Act, which allows it to set stricter limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks. If the California waiver is granted, 13 other states have already adopted the California standards and will be allowed to implement those standards. Obama has also directed DOT to raise CAFE standards to an average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 at the latest.
The President's press secretary discussed the CAFE standards at today's press conference:
"The particular action that the President took today was to take legislation that Congress approved in December of 2007, and President Bush signed, and in January of 2009 implement changed CAFE standards for model year 2011. So I don't think it comes as any surprise to automakers or consumers that a change in our fuel mileage standards was on the horizon. In fact, between December of 2007 and October of 2010 -- which is when manufacturers begin the next model year -- we believe, and I've seen testimony from the auto companies, that changing those fuel mileage standards is certainly doable. The President wants to work with the auto industry to ensure that the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow are produced and built here in America for Americans to buy. And I think that government working with the auto industry can ensure that we have a sustainable path toward the production or more fuel-efficient autos, that those fuel-efficient autos will be more appealing to American consumers, and that that can be a win-win for both. The actions that the President took today put us on the path when we realize a fuel efficiency standard of 35 miles to the gallon -- it's 27.5 now -- 35 miles to the gallon will constitute a savings of 2 million barrels of oil a day, which is roughly comparable to the amount of oil that we import each day from the Persian Gulf."
"I think what ultimately we'll come up with is something that moves along the twin goals of ensuring a strong manufacturing sector while at the same time ensuring that we take the necessary steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
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