US tightens fuel emissions standards
Just weeks after UNEP launched a roadmap towards greater global fuel economy, US car manufacturers, environmentalists and lawmakers have reached a landmark agreement on setting auto efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
Washington D.C, 21 May 2009 - Just weeks after UNEP launched a roadmap towards greater global fuel economy, US car manufacturers, environmentalists and lawmakers have reached a landmark agreement on setting auto efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
Speaking at the White House on 20 May, US President Barack Obama said: "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 for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States."
Under the new regulations, automakers will be forced to dramatically boost the efficiency of cars and light trucks, in a move that will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and achieve cuts of 900 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.
The fleet average fuel consumption for US vehicles will be raised to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 (15.44 kilometers per liter) from the current 25 miles per gallon - four years sooner than required by current US law. Most passenger cars must reach 39 miles per gallon by 2016 and light trucks must satisfy fuel consumption regulations of 30 miles per gallon.
President Obama said the move amounted to removing 177 million cars from the roads by 2016. In that period, the savings in oil would amount to last year's combined US imports from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria, Mr. Obama added.
The programme, which begins with car models made in 2012, is a key move on the road to more sustainable transport. According to UNEP's '50 by 50' Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) report launched in March, annual savings of six billion barrels of oil and 2 gigatonnes of CO2 can be achieved through concrete actions like reducing transport emissions and improving fuel economy.