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Obama Orders Review of Auto Industry Fuel Efficiency, Emission Standards

01/27/2009
President Barack Obama has ordered two federal agencies to review auto fuel efficiency and emissions standards. He directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish higher fuel efficiency standards for the 2011 model year; the current standard, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, was established in 1975. He also ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its rejection of an initiative proposed by the state of California to impose new emissions standards on the automobile industry that are significantly more restrictive than those imposed by the federal government. "Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry; it is to help America's automakers prepare for the future," said Obama in making the announcement. "As we move forward, we fully take into account the unique challenges facing the American auto industry and the taxpayer dollars that now support it." The EPA has previously rejected the attempt by California and 12 other states to impose their own strict regulations on auto emissions, rather than following federal guidelines; Obama's order puts this choice back in the hands of the states. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 11 U.S., Asian, and European automakers, said in a statement that it supports "a nationwide program that bridges state and federal concerns and moves all stakeholders forward." General Motors issued a separate statement pointing out its ongoing work on technology that "matches the nation's and consumers' priorities to save energy and reduce emissions." 

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