U.S. progresses on concept of cleaner cars

Aug 4th, 2011 | By | Category: General

At a ceremony, convened by the White House, President Barack Obama unveiled an exciting new agreement with major automakers and the State of California to strengthen fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards for new cars and trucks, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the move “sets a course that will encourage American innovation and technology and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

“Connecticut’s clean energy companies are well-positioned to play a significant role in our new energy economy,” Malloy said, and that “improved vehicle efficiency will keep more dollars at home in Connecticut, and we’ll all breathe easier with less air pollution.”

Exciting new fuel efficiency and auto pollution standrds will save Americans money at the gas pump, curb global warming emissions, and reduce our oil dependence.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says it helped shaped this agreement since plans were announced by the president more than a year ago to develop new standards. I am so proud of the UCS clean vehicles technical, policy, and advocacy team—they unwaveringly kept their eye on the goal of deep global warming emissions reductions and insisted that the new fuel efficiency standards be ambitious and achievable.

This is a major step forward in our fight to make America’s cars and trucks cleaner and more fuel efficient.

For the second time since he was elected, President Obama has brought automakers to the table to support strong fuel economy and auto pollution standards for cars and trucks. Thanks to these efforts, we are on a path to dramatically reduce climate emissions from vehicles and make our country less reliant on oil.

This proposal, which will apply to vehicles sold in model years 2017 to 2025, will set a global warming pollution standard of 163 grams per mile by 2025—the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) if all improvements are met through fuel-efficiency.

Meeting these standards will unleash innovation in the auto industry, putting fuel-saving technology to work across all vehicle types and sizes. Automakers already have the technology to build cars, trucks, and SUVs that are less polluting and go farther on a gallon of gas. These standards will ensure more efficient engines, smarter transmissions, light-weight materials, and other clean vehicle technologies make it off the factory floor and into our driveways. It will also help put more hybrid-electric vehicles on the road and pave the way for electric-drive technology.

As a result, these standards will save Americans money at the gas pump, curb global warming emissions, and reduce our oil dependence.

According to UCS analysis, these new standards will cut U.S. oil consumption by as much as 1.5 million barrels per day by 2030—about as much as we currently import from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. This will prevent as much as 280 million metric tons of climate emissions in 2030 from being released into our atmosphere—the equivalent to shutting down 72 coal-fired power plants. By using less oil, Americans will spend $80 billion less on fuel.

This progress would not have been possible without the help of UCS and supporters like you. For years, UCS has helped lead the fight to strengthen fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards for cars and trucks. This victory is no exception. We have worked in coalition with other public interest groups, communicated timely analysis to the media and key decision makers, and directly engaged policy makers.

Today’s announcement is a giant step, yet important details must still be resolved before these standards are finalized next year. UCS will continue to work with the Obama administration, California, and other stakeholders to ensure these standards are strong and not weighed down by loopholes.

At a time when public health protections and climate science are under daily attack from some members of Congress, today’s announcement shows that we can make progress even in this challenging political environment.

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