By Stephen Markley on September 1, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency has delivered its final draft of the proposed new fuel economy rules. The agency will target a 35.5 mpg standard for vehicles by 2016, according to Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator.
The proposed rules will first come under review by the White House, but barring any surprises, President Barack Obama will likely agree to this first step in regulating greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.
The proposal is a compromise between the federal government, state governments and automakers. California and a dozen other states have tried to implement their own fuel economy standards — a precedent that automakers and dealers claimed would create confusion and uncertainty among both the auto companies and consumers.
The rules, which will be made public later this month, will explain how automakers can meet this standard beginning in 2012. The auto industry and the public will then have a 90-day period to comment on the proposal; by law, the final rules must be set by next spring.
Of all the environmental fights the Obama administration has in front of it, this will likely be the easiest because it has already obtained the auto industry's cooperation in raising fuel economy standards.
EPA Drafts Fuel Economy Rules (Detroit Free Press)