White House unveils new mileage, emissions goals for cars

| 9/16/2009

The Obama White House has unveiled a new plan to increase the average fuel mileage of cars and light trucks, but for the first time ever the president has set goals to regulate tailpipe emissions.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The notice calls for manufacturers of cars and light-duty trucks to reach an average of 35.5 mpg for their vehicles by model year 2016 – four years sooner than the Bush-era plan that called for a 35 mpg standard by 2020.

In addition to the mileage requirements, the Obama plan calls for light-duty vehicles to emit no more than 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile by model year 2016. The phase-in would begin in 2012.

The plan does not apply to medium-duty or heavy-duty trucks.

LaHood and Jackson said new standards will save consumers money at the pump, lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 950 million metric tons.

The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have provided a 60-day period for the public to comment in the Federal Register.

Click here for instructions about how to submit a comment to EPA, and here for NHTSA.

Prior to 2007, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, or CAFE standards, had not been raised since economy cars hit the market three decades ago.

– By David Tanner, staff writer