WASHINGTON— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation today announced their intent to improve fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks, which account for nearly 60 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources. While the range of standards under consideration is an improvement, it falls short of what has been proposed by the European Union and what is necessary to make a significant dent in greenhouse gas pollution.
“It’s encouraging to see the Obama administration moving in the right direction, but it’s not moving fast enough or far enough,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Even under the most aggressive options outlined today, the United States will still lag behind Europe.”
The most ambitious of today’s proposals would increase fuel efficiency by 6 percent a year, which would mean U.S. fuel efficiency would be approximately 37 miles per gallon for new cars and light trucks in 2017. By comparison, Europe and Japan reached approximately 42 mpg in 2008. The United States could reach 62 mpg in 2025 (again, under the most aggressive option), but Europe has set a more ambitious target of 64.8 mpg by 2020 — five years earlier.
Today’s notice lays the groundwork for a proposal that will be issued next year, with final rulemaking scheduled for 2012.
In November 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity, its allies 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 and global warming.
Read about the Center’s Climate Law Institute and its campaign to curb global warming pollution from transportation.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 315,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.