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October 21, 2009

Live from the Vehicle Fuel Economy & Emissions Public Hearing

This morning our own Jesse Prentice-Dunn of the Sierra Club Green Transportation team is in Detroit, where the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are holding the first of three public hearings on strong new vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards.

The Department of Transportation proposed accelerating fuel economy standards to 34.1 mpg by 2016 and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed setting a standard of 250 grams of CO2 equivalent per mile by 2016.

Jesse is tweeting from the hearing, so follow @SierraClubLive or the #fueleconomy hashtag on Twitter. The hearing began at 9am ET.

Here is Jesse's statement on the hearing and the proposed fuel economy and emissions standards:

Sierra Club applauds the Obama Administration’s leadership in proposing strong new standards for America’s new cars and light trucks. These new clean car standards will cut our dependence on oil, slash global warming emissions, and save consumers money at the pump. 

America has a history of leadership and ingenuity - we know the auto industry can meet these goals while providing consumers with a full range of vehicles. The proposed standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 950 million metric tons – the equivalent of shutting 205 coal power plants for a year - and save 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

This proposal takes standards out of the 1970s and into the 21st century. We support the new standards because they combine the emissions reductions potential of the Clean Air Act with the strongest oil savings law in the country, all while giving automakers the direction they need to make cleaner, more efficient cars. 

We are urging the Administration to ensure that the final rule delivers the promised greenhouse gas reductions and oil savings.  For example, a backstop standard is need if automakers slip too far from expected targets and EPA should ensure emissions associated with electric vehicles are accounted for and that credits for these vehicles do not undercut emissions reductions. 

The final rule must also minimize credits that automakers are allowed to receive for vehicles sold before new standards take effect in 2012. These vehicles were planned years before these standards were announced and will be sold before new standards are in place. Automakers should not be given windfall credits for cars that were already in the pipeline and could be used to slow improvements and application of technology.

These standards will push automakers to quickly deploy fuel saving technologies already on the shelf and set the table for stronger future standards and advanced technology vehicles that can end our dependence on oil and significantly reduce emissions. The auto industry can meet this challenge.  A strong final program is needed to deliver on President Obama’s goals and will be a win for automakers, consumers, and the environment.


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