White House rolls out details of fuel economy, emissions standard ” The biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken to cut CO2

Back in May, the Obama administration announced it would move forward on national standards for new vehicle fuel economy and tailpipe greenhouse gas emission (see here):

This is a very big deal,” said Daniel Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign, a group that has pushed for tougher mileage and emissions standards with the goal of curbing the heat-trapping gases that have been linked to global warming. “This is the single biggest step the American government has ever taken to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.”

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Today the Administration rolled out the final details. The AP reports:

The Obama administration is unveiling plans to require higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and tougher rules on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson planned to release the proposed regulations Tuesday. They call for the auto industry’s fleet of new vehicles to average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The plan follows up on President Barack Obama’s announcement in May that the government regulations would link emissions and fuel economy standards.

Greenwire (via the NYT) notes, “The carbon dioxide limit under the plan — which will apply to passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles — would reach an average of 250 grams per mile per vehicle in 2016.”

The Obama administration estimated earlier this year the requirements would cost up to $1,300 per new vehicle by 2016 but take just three years to pay off the investment and save about $2,800 over the life of the vehicle through better gas mileage.

During a visit to a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, Obama said the new standards are overdue.

“This action will give our auto companies some long-overdue clarity, stability and predictability,” he said….

A congressional official briefed on the details said the proposal was expected to increase vehicle fuel efficiency by about 5 percent annually, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons and save an average car buyer more than $3,000 in fuel costs. The plan would also conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly in advance of the White House announcement.

The administration was expected to note that the proposal’s plan to reach 35.5 mpg by the 2016 model year would put it four years ahead of a 2007 law approved by Congress that would have required the auto industry to meet a 35 mpg average in 2020.

Kudos to team Obama.

Click here (pdf) to read the notice of intent.

UPDATE: Dan Becker has issued a statement:

“Keeping President Obama’s promise, today’s proposed clean car rule is the biggest single step the US has taken to curb global warming and our oil addiction. It demonstrates to the world that the United States is now confronting the threat of global warming. It shows that we can use the Clean Air Act and other existing laws to tackle the pollution spewing from vehicles and power plants.

“Controlling global warming pollution is auto mechanics, not rocket science. All automakers have the advanced technologies — engines, transmissions, high strength, lightweight materials and aerodynamics — to safely achieve this new standard and to go beyond it.

“The devil is in the details. Detroit’s lobbyists have done their best to riddle this decision with credits and other loopholes. We urge the Administration to close these loopholes or implement an automatic backstop to ensure that the president’s promise of 35.5 mpg average vehicles in 2016 will be kept.”