Obama Announces Comprehensive National Fuel Economy Policy

In a groundbreaking revision, President Barack Obama has increased fuel economy standards for the automobile industry, requiring an average fuel economy of 35.5 miles per gallon for model year 2016.

| May 20, 2009


President Obama acknowledged Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company, while announcing the new auto policy. Nine other auto executives, the president of the United Auto Workers, and three administration officials joined the president for the announcement.


President Barack Obama announced a new national policy on Tuesday that will increase the fuel economy and reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of all new cars and trucks sold in the United States.

The policy includes proposed new fuel economy standards will cover model years 2012 through 2016, achieving an average fuel economy of 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for model year 2016. This exceeds the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg by model year 2020. The standards will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles by 30 percent by 2016. Over the lifetime of these new vehicles, they will save an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil and will avoid the emission of 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Cars and light trucks cause 17 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

The groundbreaking policy represents an unprecedented collaboration among the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 10 of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto Workers (UAW), leaders in the environmental community, the State of California, and other state governments.

Because the policy combines fuel economy regulations with GHG regulations for vehicles, it addresses the EPA’s need to set GHG regulations for vehicles while also addressing California’s request to set its own GHG regulations. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia had planned to adopt California’s GHG regulations. Meanwhile, 10 major car companies and the UAW have embraced the national program because it provides certainty and predictability to 2016 and includes flexibilities that will significantly reduce the cost of compliance.

To put the new policy in place, the EPA and DOT intend to initiate a joint rulemaking for new vehicle standards. The proposed standards are expected to be divided into categories of vehicles, based on the size of the vehicles, and they are expected to include a variety of measures to allow flexibility in meeting the standards, including credits earned for actions such as implementing advanced air conditioning technologies and using additional technologies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Such credits would be tradable among the auto manufacturers.

royce vines
5/29/2009 10:09:51 PM

Please open your eyes America, this is a con, it is unnecessary and it is Obama's and the car industry's bovine excrement to appease the greenies and their fellow travellers. It is up to the individual motorist to decide how efficient their car has to be, not a totalitarian government. Just as it is my right to drive an SUV, utility (pickup), a thumping ground pounding muscle car or and "old" car, no one has the right to tell me how much of my income I spend on fuel. Forget Anthrapological Global Warming, the Earth is now in a cooling cycle. "Greenhouse Gasses" do NOT affect the Earth's temperature due to winds and clouds. The greatest so-called greenhouse gas is water vapour. Guess what fuel cell emit. No CO2, no life, full stop. Please America, do not let this totalitarian president intrude into your lives and control everything you think and do. Best Regards, Royce R. Vines Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

5/29/2009 9:23:25 PM

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sue _2
5/29/2009 5:58:57 PM

Has anyone looked into the Scuderi air hybrid engine?

5/29/2009 1:11:28 PM

It's none of the gov't beezwax what I do with my car or how efficient it is.

5/26/2009 10:46:10 AM

Sure, everything is all well and fine if anyone has a job left to buy a car let alone commute to it!

stan m
5/24/2009 4:41:25 PM

What no one in Washington understands is that we will continue to have pollution and congestion problems as long as the size of the US automobile fleet continues to increase by 10+ million vehicles annually. Instead of working in the communities where they live (thus contributing more fully to the community), Americans travel ever-increasing distances between home and work each year. Governments see the only answers as increased CAFE standards and mass transportation, both of which are unbearably expensive. There's scarcely a mass transit system in the nation that doesn't operate at a dead loss. And to require increases in CAFE siphons research money away from the effort to develop better propulsion systems than currently exist. The industry has been making noises about fuel cell technology for more than thirty years, but no one has manufactured a personal vehicle using the stuff. Government's role would best be limited to: (1) deciding which alternative fuel should become the new standard (so that delivery infrastructure can be built), (2) providing tax incentives for people to live closer to their work, and (3) providing incentives for businesses allow employees to work from home as much as possible. But try convincing your congressperson even to consider ideas along these lines, and you will be rebuffed.

john edward mercier
5/23/2009 12:01:51 PM

Plenty of motorcycles in the US... The small car arguement is largely bunk when compared. Though I really don't suspect we will see the loss of the bigger vehicles... just a broader use of efficient off-the-shelf technologies.

5/22/2009 1:00:35 PM

Wow. I can't wait to buy an ultra fuel efficient, lightweight car so that I can get creamed on the highway.

stan m
5/21/2009 7:57:50 PM

I fail to see where increasing the CAFE standard is "ground-breaking." If anything, it's more of the same old failed policy making.

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