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Obama to Announce New Car Mileage Plan

May 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

President Barack Obama wants drivers to go farther on a gallon of gas and cause less damage to the environment – and be willing to pick up the tab.

Obama planned to announce today (May 19) the first-ever national emissions limits for cars and trucks, as well as require a 35.5 miles-per- gallon standard, according to the Associated Press. Consumers should expect to pay an extra $1,300 per vehicle by the time the plan is complete in 2016, officials said.

The administration officials spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement by Obama.

The plan also would effectively end a feud between automakers and statehouses over emission standards — with the states coming out on top but the automakers getting the single national standard they’ve been seeking and more time to make the changes.

Obama’s plan couples for the first time pollution reduction from vehicle tailpipes with increased efficiency on the road. It would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil through 2016 and would be the environmental equivalent to taking 177 million cars off the road, senior administration officials said Monday night.

New vehicles would be 30% cleaner and more fuel-efficient by the end of the program, according to officials familiar with the administration’s discussions. The officials also spoke on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement had not been made.

The plan still must clear regulatory hurdles at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department. Automakers appear to be in support.

Administration officials said consumers were going to pay an extra $700 for mileage standards that had already been approved. The comprehensive Obama plan would add another $600 to the price of a vehicle, a senior administration official said.

The extra miles would come at roughly a 5% increase each year. By the time the plan takes full effect, at the end of 2016, new vehicles would cost an extra $1,300.

That official said the cost would be recovered through savings at the pump for consumers who choose a standard 60-month car loan and if gas prices follow government projections.

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