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In May, President Barack Obama set in motion a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks in the United States. The new standards covering automobile model years 2012 to 2016, and ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of [35.5 miles per gallon] 15.09 kilometers per liter in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain of more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions.
The new standards would surpass those required by the Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] law enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2007, which required an average fuel economy of [35 miles per gallon] 14.88 kilometers per liter in 2020. The Administration's policy represents an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the world's largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto Workers union, leaders in the environmental community, the State of California, and other state governments in the United States.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standards "will keep Americans healthier, cut tons of pollution from the air we breathe, and make a lasting down payment on cutting our greenhouse gas emissions."
"This program lessons our dependence on oil and is good for America and the planet," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible," said President Obama. "That is why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington [D.C.] As a result of this agreement, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next 5 years," he said. "And at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, this rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century."