Obama Administration Finalizes Historic Clean Cars Standards

Media Contacts

Standards Will Slash Pollution and Cut Oil Use in Pennsylvania

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Philadelphia, PA—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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 8.4 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 1,285, of today’s vehicles—and save 720 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 Pennsylvania off oil,” said Adam Garber, PennEnvironment Field Director.  “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 Pennsylvanians will save $1.5 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.  Many opinion leaders in Pennsylvania have spoken out in support of the standards, including Joe Spadaro, owner of Nissan of Devon, Dr. Walter Tsou of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Rep. Tony Payton, Norm Zarwin of UGo stations and many more. In fact, the clean cars hearing in Philadelphia on the standard in the winter had local citizens and experts testify for nearly 12 hours.

“Consumers come in to our dealership on an increasingly regular basis looking for more fuel efficient and cleaner cars.  Fortunately Nissan is ahead of the curve on this issue which allows us to offer customers several models including the Nissan Altima and the 100% zero emission Nissan Leaf,” said Joe Spadaro, owner of Nissan of Devon. “Today’s announcement is a big step forward to make sure all cars made in the future are more fuel-efficient, saving our environment and our customer’s money.”

Garber 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—including Pennsylvania—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. PennEnvironment helped ensure that Pennsylvania adopted its state-level standard in 2005 by collecting 5,000 petition signatures and working with groups ranging from the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania to the Sierra Club to demonstrate broad support for the standard. 

“Pennsylvanians should take pride in knowing that the Obama administration is following Pennsylvania’s lead in getting cleaner cars on the road,” said Garber.  “Without the leadership of Pennsylvania and the other states that adopted state-level standards, we likely wouldn’t have any federal standards to celebrate today.”