This is one of those days when I am so clearly reminded of why I joined this Administration.
Today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and I announced a proposed rule that would bring our nation a step closer to a future where the vehicles we drive help us solve our energy and environmental challenges, rather than contribute to them. The rule would establish a historic interagency program to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases.
Look, America simply cannot continue down this path of dependence on oil. It's not who we are. We must take control of our own energy destiny. And that is exactly what DOT and EPA propose to do. Putting millions more fuel-efficient cars, SUVs, and small trucks on the road is not just a matter of policy; it's a matter of this nation taking a huge--and long overdue--step forward toward energy independence.
Our proposal builds upon core principles President Obama announced with automakers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, governors and state officials in May. It would sensibly coordinate national vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions standards.
How do Americans benefit from this? The joint program would:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons
- Save the average car buyer more than $3000 in fuel costs
- Conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil
And, I think it will do more. I think it will unleash a new era for the automotive industry.
To meet the proposed new fuel efficiency standards, auto manufacturers will introduce all sorts of innovations-–new kinds of transmissions and tires, new stop-start technologies, and more efficient air conditioning systems. This program will open the door to more widespread use of advanced hybrid vehicles, clean-diesel engines, and other alternatives to traditional gas-powered engines.
I’m proud that DOT is part of this productive and historic partnership. Together, we’re going to make American cleaner and greener--and usher in a whole new century of automotive innovation and manufacturing.
This is indeed a green-letter day for the Obama Administration, a day that reminds me why I went into public service.
The comment period will be open soon at regulations.gov; please let your voice be part of the decision-making process.