President Obama today will announce the outline of proposed clean car standards that by 2030 will cut annual gasoline use by as much as 23 billion gallons, reduce annual emissions of global warming pollution by as much as 280 million metric tons, and save Americans over $80 billion at the gas pump annually.* The standards will cover cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and are expected to require that these vehicles meet a global warming pollution standard equivalent to a 54.5 miles-per-gallon fleetwide average by 2025.
Environment Maryland's Campaign Director, Tommy Landers, issued the following statement in anticipation of the announcement:
"Oil is America's Achilles heel, holding us back from protecting our environment and growing our economy. But today’s clean cars proposal is the single biggest step this country has ever taken to end our addiction to oil—and tackle global warming—and the Obama administration should be loudly applauded for taking it. By ensuring that the cars of tomorrow are much cleaner and more fuel-efficient than the cars of today, we will reap huge global warming pollution reductions and oil savings, benefiting America’s environment and our families’ health, while saving consumers money at the gas pump and helping to protect our national security.
"Maryland has already been a leader on vehicle efficiency, having adopted a 35.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016. We encouraged Gov. O'Malley to write a letter to President Obama urging him to propose the strongest standard possible for 2025. [Gov. O'Malley's letter is accessible online.]
"We will work with the administration to further strengthen several elements of this proposal, as the problems of global warming and our addiction to oil demand that we make the final standards as strong as possible. We can do this by putting American ingenuity to work and avoiding loopholes that will mean lost oil savings and pollution reductions.
"We again applaud the Obama administration for this historic step forward that will benefit our environment, our health, our economy and our national security, and we look forward to working with the administration to strengthen this proposal moving forward."
The 2017-2025 global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks are being developed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation. The new standards will follow the 2012-2016 standards issued by the Obama administration, which built upon the leadership of California and 13 other states nationwide that had set more stringent state-level clean car standards. The Obama administration is expected to officially propose the 2017-2025 standards in September, and then finalize the standards in 2012.
*These figures are from an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council. The projected annual global warming pollution reduction of 280 million metric tons in 2030 is equivalent to avoiding the annual emissions of 72 coal-fired power plants (assuming 3.9 million metric tons of pollution annually per power plant). The projected gasoline savings of 23 billion gallons of gasoline in 2030 are roughly equivalent to the 2010 U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Photo: Our Federal Global Warming Program Director, Nathan Willcox, was invited to the President's announcement and was able to thank him personally.