U.S. President Obama announced a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards, covering model years 2012-2016, and ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain averaging more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov).

“The president brought all stakeholders to the table and came up with a plan to help the auto industry, safeguard consumers, and protect human health and the environment for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, in a prepared statement. “A supposedly ‘unsolvable’ problem was solved by unprecedented partnerships. As a result, we will keep Americans healthier, cut tons of pollution from the air we breathe, and make a lasting down payment on cutting our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The EPA says the national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions will benefit the auto manufacturers because it provides regulatory certainty and predictability and includes flexibilities that will significantly reduce the cost of compliance. According to the EPA, the collaboration of federal agencies also allows for clearer rules for all automakers, instead of three standards (DOT, EPA and a state standard).