California has spent years battling to set its own rules on greenhouse gas emissions, and today, the federal Department of Transportation and the EPA announced the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards, based on California’s rules. The new federal standards improve the current ones by nearly 10 mpg by the 2016 model year. According to a government statement, drivers could save up to $3,000 per year due to improved fuel efficiency, and nearly 1.8 billion barrels of oil and a billion tons of CO2 will be conserved over the lives of the vehicles covered by the new rules.
NPR has a complete story on the announcement.
The new federal rules, which mandate that the U.S. car and light-truck fleet reach an average fuel efficiency of between 35.5 mpg by 2016, are modeled after the standards outlined in California’s AB 1493, which was signed into law in 2002. The state was not granted permission from the U.S. EPA to implement the law until June 2009, however.
In a written statement Thursday, state Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols said, “For eight long years California and the thirteen other states that adopted our tough standards led the way. This action by the White House now means consumers in all fifty states can benefit from cleaner, more efficient cars.”