Obama Administration Finalizes Historic Clean Car Standards

Media Contacts

Standards Will Slash Pollution and Cut Oil Use in Arizona

Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center

Phoenix —Today the Obama administration finalized new clean car standards that will double the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles by 2025, drastically reducing emissions of carbon pollution and cutting oil use in Arizona and nationwide. The standards will cover new cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and require those vehicles to meet the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025.

A recent joint analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists projects that by 2030 in Arizona alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 8 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 1.2 million of today’s vehicles—and save 685 million gallons of fuel.

Together with the Obama administration’s standards covering vehicles in model years 2012-2016, the new standards and their projected cuts in carbon pollution represent the largest single step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming.

“The Obama administration’s new clean car standards are a monumental leap forward in the must-win battle to tackle global warming and get Arizona off oil,” said Bret Fanshaw, State Advocate at Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. “Future generations may well look back on today as a decisive step toward breaking our destructive oil addiction.”

The NRDC/UCS analysis also projects that Arizonans will save $1.7 billion at the gas pump in 2030 because of the fuel efficiency improvements required by the new standards.

More than 282,000 Americans submitted comments in support of the standards as they were being developed, and they enjoy the support of the major automakers, consumer groups and the environmental community. Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center was joined by Arizona PIRG Education Fund in applauding today’s announcement.

“Cleaner cars save consumers money, while benefitting air quality and public health,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Today’s historic announcement was steered by Arizonans and other Americans who drove state decision makers to act, and the federal government to follow.”

Fanshaw pointed out that just as important as the standards themselves is the story of how they came to be. Long before the Obama administration took office, California and 13 other states – originally including Arizona, until the Brewer Administration removed the state from the clean cars program earlier this year— were developing and implementing their own state-level clean car standards. Beyond charting a path for pollution reductions for those states, the standards also pushed automakers to begin developing the cleaner cars that we see on the road today. That paved the way for the Obama administration to first set the first-ever federal carbon pollution standards for vehicles in model years 2012-2016, followed by today’s standards for model years 2017-2025.

“Without the leadership of the states that adopted state-level standards, we likely wouldn’t have any federal standards to celebrate today,” said Fanshaw. “We were very disappointed to see Gov. Brewer take Arizona backward last year by removing the state from the stronger clean cars standards that were originally adopted. Thankfully we are still seeing progress from the Obama administration to get off oil and make our vehicles more efficient.”