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Clean Car standards will benefit Midwest economy, environment

Apr 1, 2010
April 1, 2010 – Midwest states should gain direct economic and environmental benefits as the U.S. automotive industry transitions to meet historic new federal clean car standards.

Midwest environmental leaders are highlighting the opportunities for job growth and economic development as the new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards are issued. The rules will significantly increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from new cars and trucks.

The shift toward cleaner cars presents an opportunity for Midwest manufacturing centers, as carmakers develop more efficient technologies and better pollution controls.

“The U.S. EPA's action shows the Clean Air Act working successfully to achieve environmental progress and economic benefits by advancing clean technologies that provide positive solutions," said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. "The Midwest should be a leader in capturing the jobs of the future; building the new, cleaner cars of the future that will increase our energy independence and save consumers billions each year at the gas pump.”

Under the new standards, average fuel economy for passenger cars will increase from 27.5 mpg in 2009 to 38 mpg by 2016 – an improvement of nearly 40 percent. Building cleaner cars will reduce lifetime greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles produced between 2012 and 2016 by over 656 million tons. Vehicular global warming emissions will fall by an average of 34 percent.

American automakers have expressed support for the standards, which will make American cars more competitive at home and abroad. American vehicles manufactured to comply with the federal clean cars standards can also meet the stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards for new vehicles that have been adopted by the European Union, Japan, China and Canada.

The new fuel efficiency and emissions rules are expected to cost approximately $60 billion and generate $200 billion in economic benefits between 2012 and 2016. The bulk of new investment by automakers will be for development of innovative fuel efficiency technologies. Those standard-driven research and development investments will create new jobs and put U.S. manufacturers at the forefront of clean car technology.

“Because they reduce fuel consumption, these standards are an important step toward increasing our energy independence and strengthening national security,” said David Gard, Energy Program Director for the Michigan Environmental Council.

New standards for cars of the future are predicted to save 11.6 billion gallons of gasoline per year by 2016 (equal to half the oil the U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia) and save consumers $31.8 billion annually at the pump.

The coalition working to promote the economic benefits of the new clean car standards includes The Environmental Law & Policy Center, The Hoosier Environmental Council, The Ohio Environmental Council, The Michigan Environmental Council and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

Peter Gray: 312-795-3715
David Gard: 517-487-9539
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