President Obama pushes for tougher emission standards - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

President Obama pushes for tougher emission standards

WASHINGTON. - President Obama announced Tuesday new fuel consumption and emissions standards for cars and trucks.

By 2016, new vehicles sold in this country will have to average more than 35 miles per gallon.

"For the first time in history we have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution," President Obama told reporters.

By 2016 new cars will average 39 miles a gallon, light trucks 30; 35 miles per gallon will be the fleet average.

The new standards will reduce the use of foreign oil and result in a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions.

"Any way you want to look at it, these are real emissions reductions and real efficiency improvements," noted Steve Cochran of the Environmental Defense Fund. "We're really gonna make a difference this time."

Car companies fought similar standards for years, while states like California made their own rules.

President Obama broke the deadlock.

"This President, after 120 days in office, has created the action. He brought everyone together," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after the announcement.

Still, drivers are divided. Some worry the quality of cars may be affected, but the car companies say that's not the case.

"We'll see more performance out of maybe smaller engines but with turbo-charging, with advanced diesel, with hybrids," explained the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' Dave McCurdy.

President Obama says the higher cost of the cleaner cars, an average of $600, will be made up in three years of fuel savings, and says the plan will help revive the American car industry.

The cost to the car companies will be at least $47 billion.

They say they might need more government help to pay that bill.

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