For Immediate Release
New Vehicle Standards an Historic Step in Regulating Greenhouse Emissions
Yet United States Still Lags Behind China, Japan, and E.U. in Fuel Economy
WASHINGTON - The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection
Agency today finalized national regulations of greenhouse gas emissions
from cars, light-duty trucks, and SUVs. The standards, an important
and historic step, are a significant improvement on the status quo yet
still leave the United States far behind other countries in fuel
"Reducing greenhouse gas pollution from cars and trucks
under the Clean Air Act is an historic step in the fight to curb global
warming. The Clean Air Act is our strongest and most successful tool
for reducing air pollution and will now be put to work, together with
our fuel-economy law, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect the
air we breathe, and save consumers money," said Kierán Suckling,
executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "This rule
demonstrates what we've said for years: The Clean Air Act works and, if
fully implemented, has the power to quickly, efficiently avoid the
worst effects of global warming."
According to the EPA, today's combined rule will reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 960 million metric tons and save some 1.8
billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the covered vehicles. The
new rule, which covers more than 60 percent of all U.S.
transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, will increase national
gas-mileage standards for covered vehicles by about 5 percent per year,
with the standard reaching 35.5 mpg for model year 2016, ahead of the
existing deadline to achieve 35 mpg by 2020.
"Despite the increase, the rule will leave the United
States far behind the fuel efficiency that European and Japanese cars
achieve today, at close to 44 mpg and 43 mpg respectively. Until U.S.
standards are improved as our laws require, the battered U.S. auto
industry will continue to lag behind its international rivals," added
In November 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity,
other nonprofit organizations, and more than a dozen states won a
landmark court victory overturning the Bush administration's
fuel-economy standards for model years 2008-2011, in part because of
the administration's failure to consider the impact of greenhouse gas
emissions from the regulated vehicles.
While today's announcement regulates mobile sources,
earlier this week the EPA announced a further delay of legally required
greenhouse pollution controls for smokestacks.
"This historic rulemaking should have also triggered
Clean Air Act protections from emissions from stationary sources, such
as coal-fired power plants. EPA's decision this week to delay vital
greenhouse gas pollution controls for stationary sources undermines
today's decision on vehicle emissions. The Clean Air Act should be used
in its entirety as soon as possible, before it's too late," said
Figure 1: Fuel Economy by Country/Region. Source: Actual
and Projected Fuel Economy for New Passenger Vehicles by
Country/Region, 2002-2020, ICCT (December 2000 Update); Bush
proposal for 2011-2015 and the Obama final standards for 2011 and
2012-2016 have been added to the ICCT graphic.
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.