Sen. Carper Hails Obama Call For More Fuel Efficient Vehicles

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) hailed President Obama’s announcement today raising average fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks to 35.5. miles per gallon by 2016, and requiring, for the first time, CO2 emission standards for new vehicles.

Noting that Delaware is home to the last operating domestic auto plant on the East Coast, Sen. Carper said he was encouraged that the President and Vice President are taking seriously the need to restore the health of the U.S. auto industry. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in this effort.

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 accelerated Obama initiative, 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 just this sort of outcome announced today.

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 in good faith, real results are possible. 

“This historic 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, re-energize the U.S. auto industry, and be a significant step toward addressing greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere. Built upon on the bipartisan congressional compromise I helped craft two years ago, I am hopeful this announcement will help restore the health of the U.S. auto industry.

“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.