Sen. Carper Applauds New Obama Administration Rule Calling For More Fuel Efficient Vehicles

WASHINGTON – Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) applauded President Obama’s announcement today that implemented a joint Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that raises the average fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 and requires, for the first time, CO2 emission standards for new vehicles. This announcement comes on the heels of two additional Obama Administration announcements this week intended to move this country away from foreign oil and toward energy independence.

In 2007, Sen. Carper helped broker an increase in fuel-economy standards when Congress passed bipartisan legislation to increase, for the first time in more than 30 years, the fleet-wide average for all cars, trucks and SUVs from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. That “CAFE” increase, like this new rule, was designed to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil, cut harmful air pollution and accomplish the first two goals without harming the U.S. auto industry.

After California petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to institute even tougher rules than called for under the 2007 law, Sen. Carper wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging her to work with the auto industry, autoworkers and other participants to reach the type of outcome that was announced today.

This new rule brokered by the EPA and DOT with the auto industry, autoworkers, states and other stakeholders, builds on the 2007 legislation by requiring all cars and light-duty trucks to meet a 35.5 miles per gallon fuel economy standard by 2016. Over the lifetime of these vehicles, this ruling will save over 1.8 billion barrels of oil and will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 960 million metric tons. 

Following the White House announcement, Sen. Carper said:

“Today’s announcement is as significant for the men and women who build cars and trucks in this country as it is for the families and workers who buy and drive them. President Obama, in bringing together automakers, autoworkers, the State of California and other stakeholders, has shown that by working together, real results are possible. 

“This agreement to increase gas mileage requirements for American cars, trucks and vans to 35.5 miles per gallon, the highest level ever, will reduce our reliance on foreign oil and be a significant step toward addressing greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere. This new standard will incentivize American ingenuity and push our auto industry to make cars, trucks and vans that are competitive in this country and across the world.

“I have always said that it made little sense to have just one state – or even a small group of states – proceed with one mileage standard while the rest of the country adheres to another. It is inefficient and costly to consumers for car manufacturers to make one car for sale in California and another for sale in Alabama.

“That’s why this agreement makes good common sense. It strikes the right balance with a uniform national standard, yet moves us ahead more quickly than we had originally envisioned toward cars that are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly like those scheduled to be built in Wilmington, Delaware by Fisker Automotive”

“In addition to today’s actions, upcoming climate and transportation legislation must be synchronized to further reduce emissions from transportation. An essential component of this objective is to provide additional mobility options for all Americans – including greater use of high speed rail, intercity bus, smart growth, and intermodal freight.”