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For Immediate Release, January 7, 2009

Contact: Brian Nowicki, Center for Biological Diversity, (916) 201-6938 (cell)

Bush Administration Will Not Finalize New National Gas-mileage
Standards for Cars, Trucks, and SUVs

Statement by Center for Biological Diversity

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Bush administration released a statement today saying that it would not finalize corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs through model year 2015. The administration has been postponing the release of the CAFE standards since November 17, as Congress and the administration considered options for a bailout of U.S. automakers.

“The unjustifiably low proposed standards were simply not going to fly after a federal bailout for U.S. automakers,” said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope the Obama administration sends the inadequate proposed rule back to the drawing board to develop standards that will foster the fuel-efficiency and technology development that is needed to address the climate crisis and make U.S. automakers competitive again.”

The draft CAFE standards had proposed to set average fleet-wide fuel efficiency at approximately 31.6 mpg (miles per gallon) by 2015, compared to 35 mpg to 45 mpg already achieved by many vehicle models on the market today, despite a legal mandate to set gas-mileage standards at the “maximum feasible” level. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Center for Biological Diversity v. National Highway Traffic Administration, ruled that the Bush administration had violated the law by failing to properly consider greenhouse gas emissions and global warming when setting gas-mileage standards. The currently proposed standards must also comply with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires an average industry fuel efficiency of at least 35 mpg by 2020.

“The Bush proposal was developed in secret negotiations between the Bush administration and the Detroit automakers, and the economic and environmental analysis was systematically skewed in order to keep fuel-economy standards unreasonably low,” said Nowicki. “Setting strong gas-mileage standards for automobiles is one of the most important actions the Obama administration can take to improve American cars and reduce our contribution to global warming.”

Today’s statement from the Department of Transportation is available at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot0109.htm

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with more than 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


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