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Obama set to push for tough new fuel rules

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Obama set to push for tough new fuel rules

President urges federal agencies to work together on 2025 goal

BY JUSTIN HYDE

FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will launch a drive today to set fuel economy standards through 2025, ordering federal agencies to work together on tougher rules for cars, trucks and commercial vehicles.

The move keeps the Obama administration in the driver's seat rather than leaving future standards to Congress or individual states. It also offers the industry a long-term standard that it has said is critical for developing new energy-efficient technologies.

The event at the White House will come about a year after Obama met with automakers and environmental officials to hail an agreement setting a fuel economy target averaging 35.5 m.p.g. by 2016 for U.S. cars and trucks. Automakers supported the target to head off efforts by California and a dozen other states to set their own rules, which automakers warned could have created a patchwork of standards across the country.

Those standards require a 40% increase in U.S. vehicle fuel economy, the largest since the government first started regulating fuel efficiency in 1975. It was also the first time the government had directly regulated greenhouse gases fueling global warming, a key driver behind the tougher rules.

As soon as the final rules through 2016 were released in April, auto executives called for a repeat of the process for 2017 forward. Several have said they were concerned California environmental officials would try to move first, setting new standards that would act as a floor for any federal action.

The 35.5-m.p.g. target is misleading, as it includes credits and cuts in greenhouse emissions not accomplished with changes in engines. Automakers are expected to hit 32.7 m.p.g. in 2020.

Obama will order the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to work on rules, as they did last year.

LINK:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100521/BUSINESS01/5210330/1331/business01/Obama-set-to-push-for-tough-new-fuel-rules

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