Feds May Set Greenhouse Gas Standards for Cars

Feds May Set Greenhouse Gas Standards for Cars

Susan Cosier
Published: 02/24/2009

Officials from the Obama administration say that they are getting closer to setting a national standard for how much carbon cars can emit.

The Washington Post reported today that car manufacturers, environmentalists, reps from California, and administration officials have been meeting for weeks in order to come to an agreement on the amount of the greenhouse gas that will be allowed to come out of tailpipes.

"On Sunday, Carol M. Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate, said she and others backed the idea of a single standard for cars and trucks.

'The hope across the administration is that we can have a unified national policy when it comes to cleaner vehicles,' Browner said at the Western Governors' Association meeting in Washington."

California is waiting for the EPA to decide whether it will issue a Clean Air Act waiver, which would allow the state to enforce stricter standards for car emissions. Lisa Jackson, the new administrator of the agency, began reviewing the decision earlier this month. Thirteen other states would also like to have more stringent regulations.

The car companies would prefer one standard in place of a patchwork of differing regulations, according to a New York Times article printed in January:

"Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said the car makers would prefer a single national standard and needed time to develop new fuel-sipping models. 'Applying California standards to several different states would create a complex, confusing and very difficult situation for manufacturers.'"

California is proposing a fuel-efficiency standard of 42 mpg in order to cut greenhouse emissions, a goal that would raise the current federal target of 35 mpg by 2020.

There’s no news about when the administration may make a decision on the waiver or a national regulation, but we hope the group is on the rocky road to success (read: a high, countrywide standard).