U.S., California Synchronize Timing for Next Clean Car Standards

WASHINGTON, DC, January 24, 2011 (ENS) – Federal transport and environmental agencies, and the state of California all are looking ahead at least six years to what fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards will be required for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks.

The actual standards are still in development, but whatever standards are proposed, the federal and state agencies today acted to ensure they are announced in concert by September 1, 2011.

Proposing the new standards on the same timeframe signals continued collaboration that could lead to an extension of the current National Clean Car Program, providing automakers certainty as they work to build the next generation of clean, fuel efficient cars, said officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California.

Before today’s announcement, the California Air Resources Board had announced its intention to propose greenhouse gas emission standards for model years 2017 to 2025 in March of this year, while the EPA and the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were working on an end of September timeline for proposal.

Ford Focus electric is a zero-CO2-emissions, gasoline-free car expected to roll out in late 2012. (Photo courtesy Thoroughbred Ford)

“The single timeframe is another great example of the cooperation that has led us to strong and achievable standards for clean cars in America,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “I’m proud to be working with my federal and state partners on this next step in the process to make the U.S. the world leader in fuel efficient clean cars.”

Today’s announcement ensures that both federal and state proposals will come out simultaneously after a thorough, joint review of all data available when the proposals are issued.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward, but it is only the beginning. By working together with EPA and the California Air Resources Board to develop standards for the next generation of clean cars, we can set a standard that works for automakers across the country,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our continued collaboration is win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer.”

In April 2010, DOT and EPA established greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for model year 2012-2016 light-duty cars and trucks. In the fall of 2010, California accepted compliance with these federal greenhouse gas standards as meeting similar state standards as adopted in 2004, resulting in the first coordinated national program.

The standards require these vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile in model year 2016, which is equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon.

In May 2010, President Barack Obama announced that EPA, DOT and California would begin working together to assess the performance and costs of a variety of technologies that could be available in model years 2017-2025 as the first step in possibly extending the current national emission and fuel economy standards.

The three agencies have completed an interim technology assessment and have since funded additional research critical to future rulemaking.

“President Obama’s invitation last year to join with the federal agencies to develop new emission and fuel economy standards has resulted in a model of government cooperation to address the important issues of global climate change and urban pollution,” said Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board.

With today’s announcement, California Air Resources Board is committing to continue its collaboration with DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and EPA to establish standards that will provide manufacturers with the regulatory certainty needed to invest today in the kind of new technologies that will provide consumers a full range of efficient clean vehicle choices.

All three officials said auto manufacturers are responding to these goals through the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced, and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation.

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