Victory Lap on California Clean Cars Standards

Last June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted California's long-standing request to carry out its Clean Car standards—adopted by 13 other states—giving it the green light to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

That move followed President Obama's announcement in May of a landmark agreement among major automakers, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the United Auto Workers' Union and environmental groups, including EDF, calling for a national clean cars program based on California's standards.

Today, that agreement reached fruition with the EPA announcing the first national greenhouse gas pollution standards in U.S. history.

EDF president Fred Krupp lauded the achievement as a "trifecta of benefits to Americans: less dependence on Middle Eastern oil, less pollution and more savings at the gas pump."

The program calls for achieving a five percent annual improvement in fuel economy for cars with model years 2012-2016 to get 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2016 from today's fleet average of 25.1 mpg. This improvement is expected to reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gases 21 percent by 2030.

These standards will put our country on a path to more efficient fuel use and significant reductions from cars and light trucks over the next two decades. This is significant since passenger vehicles account for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption and nearly 20 percent of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions, recently found to endanger human health and welfare.

Consumers are likely to save approximately $3,000 in fuel costs over the life of a new clean car vehicle. This will help break our addiction to foreign oil by cutting 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program.

It's a great day to be an American, especially one from California. Our environmental leadership continues to be the model that other states and our country are following to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, create a healthier environment and help consumers save money. A triple win, for sure.

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