May 18th, 2009
08:45 PM ET

Obama Pumping Up Auto Fuel Standards

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/17/obama.ghana/art.obamaghana.gi.jpg]
Ed Henry
Senior White House Correspondent

In one of the federal government's most dramatic steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions ever, President Obama on Tuesday will combine California's tough auto-emission rules with the federal government's current fuel efficiency guidelines to create one tough new national standard for cars and light trucks, according to a senior administration official.

The new regulations will take effect beginning in 2012 and force automobiles to get more fuel efficient over the course of the following five years. By 2016, cars will be required to get 39 miles per gallon while light trucks will be forced to reach 30 mpg for a fleet average of 35.5 miles per gallon, according to the senior administration official.

"This has the effect of preserving consumer choice," said the senior administration official, who briefed reporters in advance of the official announcement. "You can continue to buy whatever sized car you like. All cars get cleaner."

Obama will unveil the changes at a 12:15pm event in the Rose Garden on Tuesday. Administration officials say that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will both be in attendance for the event along with executives from auto manufacturing companies.

Struggling U.S. automakers are already signaling their support because they believe the new national standard will help provide some certainty for their long-term planning, instead of dealing with the current patchwork of state regulations.

Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, noted there has been a debate for nearly a decade over whether states or the federal government should regulate autos.

"President Obama's announcement ends that old debate by starting a federal rulemaking to set a national program," said McCurdy. "Automakers are committed to working with the President to develop a national program administered by the federal government."

Environmental groups, who have been briefed in advance of the official announcement, are already hailing the changes as an historic effort to combat global warming. Administration officials claim the changes will be the equivalent of taking 177 million cars off the road in terms of impact on the environment.

"These new national rules build on California's ground-breaking standards to tackle global warming pollution from cars and trucks," said Frances Beinecke, president of the National Resources Defense Council. "Starting in model year 2012, the new standards will deliver cleaner, higher-mileage cars nationwide, cut global warming pollution, and save drivers money every time they fill up."

Filed under: Ed Henry • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Art

    All this is going to do is raise the price, when there over priced already. This should have been done a long time ago. Bottom line, price of cars continue to climb and so do gas prices, as well as employment. Awful.

    May 19, 2009 at 5:41 am |
  2. Arno

    Good Work Mr. President

    May 19, 2009 at 1:52 am |
  3. leon Archer

    Since cars are the problem, just ban them! All these regulation is going to kill this economy. I don't believe in this global warming.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  4. Jim M

    About time the rest of the states meet the California requirements.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  5. Stephanie Andrews, NC

    I love Obama. He's done great things for the country in such a short time. He knows how to "make things happen". I love ur show also Anderson.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  6. Heather

    Oh, and we are looking to California for guidance on energy use? Wasn't it California that had rolling blackouts, becuase they could not produce enough power for their population?

    Now there is a model you want to nationalize!

    May 18, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  7. Heather

    So all cars get cleaner and what? More expensive?

    American made cars are already to expensive for many Americans and this move does what to make them more affordable?

    Maybe next Obama will pass a law that says every American has to buy one of these cars too, of couse subsidized for the poor, so that the usual 5% of American carry the burden of this expense too!

    Didn't Obama just order 17,000 hybrid cars? But he did not order these cars from the companies with the best track record for building such cars, instead he bought them from US car makers.

    It sure makes it easyt o bail out a failing industry, when the government purchases their failing product! And now the goverment will own 17,000 cars, that it has also decided to guarrantee the warrantee's on!

    What a deal for the tax payers!

    May 18, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  8. Joan Stephens

    And the price for these dune buggies? And don't forget the insurance–a fender bender and they'll be totalled! And I guess families with three or more kids will need to take two cars on vacation–not to mention the safety factor. I'm anxious to see the government, since they're now running GM & Chrysler, actually try to achieve this goal. It's easy to SAY do it–finding the technology and balancing it with safety and cost is an entirely different ball game.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  9. rhutch

    Wow, first he makes them jump through hoops to get help, fires the CEO from GM, has a Automotive task force that doesn't included anyone with automotive knowledge. He's put one out of business, the second will be out of business by the end of June. So the the raising of milage standard is no big deal because the only cars you'll be able to get are little foreign models. You can drive them to your job flipping burgers as there won't be much manufacturing left in the country when he's done.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    Good rule for new cars – I hope though that people who are not planning on buying a car anytime soon will not be penalized because their existing car does not get the stated mileage. People on fixed incomes just cannot afford a new car.

    May 18, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  11. Scott Stodden

    I really do believe this is the start of tackling the global warming issue in America. This is going to help save us money at the pump, stop polluting our enviroment and will be a benefit for us Americans and the auto industry. Shout out to President Barack Obama

    May 18, 2009 at 8:53 pm |