Baltimore, MD – As the Obama administration prepares to announce historic fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for cars and light trucks later this month, Environment Maryland stopped in Baltimore on a clean car tour featuring a Nissan Leaf to tout the benefits of the soon-to-be-finalized standards for Marylanders and our environment.
“President Obama’s new clean car standards will be a historic leap forward in the effort to tackle global warming and move Maryland and the U.S. off oil,” said Sam Feigenbaum, organizer for Environment Maryland. “Between these benefits and the coolness of the cars themselves, it’s no wonder so many Marylanders are applauding these standards.”
The new standards will cover cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and are expected to require the average new car and light truck to hit a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025, roughly double the fuel efficiency of today’s cars and trucks.
A recent Natural Resources Defense Council analysis projects that by 2030 in Maryland alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by 5.7 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 863,636 of today’s vehicles—and save 480 million barrels of oil. Together with standards covering vehicles in model years 2012-2016, the standards and their projected cuts in carbon pollution represent the largest single step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming. The analysis also projects that Marylanders will save $1.2 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. In Maryland, 16 state elected officials signed onto a letter in support of the proposed standards; Governor O’Malley wrote a letter to the President urging the adoption of the most aggressive standards possible. Environment Maryland was joined by Maryland State Delegate Dana Stein at today’s event.
“President Obama's clean car standards represent a triple win for the American people”, said Delegate Stein. “They will reduce our dependence on oil imports, help fight global warming, and reduce the cost of driving. I am proud that Maryland and other states paved the way for these federal standards by enacting our own clean car standards several years ago.”
Feigenbaum also said 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 Maryland, 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 soon-to-be finalized standards for model years 2017-2025.
“Marylanders should take pride in knowing that the Obama administration is following Maryland’s lead in getting cleaner cars on the road,” said Feigenbaum. “Without the leadership of Maryland and the other states that adopted state-level standards, we likely wouldn’t have any federal standards to talk about today.”