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Final Green Light for Clean Cars

Obama Administration Finalizes Historic Clean Car Standards
For Immediate Release

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 New Jersey 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, using EPA data and compiled by Environment New Jersey’s partner groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists, projects that by 2030 in New Jersey alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 6.1 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 924,000 of today’s gas-powered vehicles—and save 520 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 New Jersey off oil,” said Doug O’Malley, interim director for Environment New Jersey.  “Future generations may well look back on today as a decisive step toward breaking our destructive oil addiction.”  

The analysis also projects that New Jerseyans will save $1.12 billion 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.  Many opinion leaders in New Jersey have spoken out in support of the standards over the year, including over 20 New Jersey legislators, local officials and business leaders during Environment New Jersey’s 2012 Clean Cars Tour this summer across New Jersey, from Bergen to Atlantic County.

“The ACUA fully supports the new federal fuel economy standards.  Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in our country, responsible for 72% percent of the oil consumed by Americans,” said Rick Dovey, President of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority. “By slashing this consumption we can save money, increase our independence, and most importantly improve quality of life by reducing air pollution.  Transportation is responsible for almost two-thirds of our carbon emissions.  To tackle global warming, we have to require more efficient cars and trucks on our roads.  Fuel economy standards are part of the solution, and together with cleaner burning natural gas and electric cars, we can make significant progress towards reducing air pollution.”

Environment New Jersey pointed out that just as important as the standards themselves it the story of how they came to be.  Long before the Obama administration even took office, California and 13 other states, including New Jersey, were developing and implementing state-level clean car standards.  Beyond reaping pollution reduction benefits for those states, the standards also helped push automakers to begin developing the cleaner cars that we see on the highway 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 the finalized standards for model years 2017-2025.

New Jersey’s role was even more critical because New Jersey was the first state in the country to pass clean car standards legislatively in early 2004, after heavy campaigning by a broad environmental coalition that included environmentalists, faith leaders and public health groups like the American Lung Association who collected over 10,000 petitions in favor of stronger standards.  Once New Jersey signed the clean cars standards into law, eight other states followed our lead, paving the way for federal action by the Obama administration.

“New Jerseyans should take pride in knowing that the Obama administration is following New Jersey’s lead in getting cleaner cars on the road,” said O’Malley.  “Without the leadership of New Jersey and the other states that adopted state-level standards, we likely wouldn’t have any federal standards to celebrate today.