Madison, WI—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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 3.9 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 598,000 of today’s vehicles—and save 335 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 Wisconsin off oil,” said Severson. “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 Wisconsinites will save $670 million 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.
Severson 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 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 Severson.
Wisconsin Environment is a state-based grassroots advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water and open spaces.