U.S., Canada crack down on vehicle emissions

Thu Apr 1, 2010 3:50pm EDT
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By Timothy Gardner and David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - The United States finalized on Thursday its first greenhouse gas emissions rules on automobiles and boosted fuel efficiency standards, moves Canada is jointly imposing on its industry.

The rules are part of President Barack Obama's goal to cut emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet by about 17 percent by 2020, under 2005 levels.

Obama wants Congress to pass a long-delayed climate bill, but to push it along, he has also set in motion steps for the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating the emissions from cars and large polluters like power plants.

"By working together with industry and capitalizing on our capacity for innovation, we've developed a clean cars program that is a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet," said Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the EPA, which finalized the rules with the Department of Transportation.

The rules, which the agencies had laid out since last year, require that cars and trucks get on average 35.5 miles per gallon (15 kilometers per liter) by 2016. The current limit is just under 25 miles per gallon. The EPA also ruled that average vehicle emissions will be limited to 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile by 2016, down about 15 percent from 2012.

Canada's government also finalized fuel efficiency rules on Thursday. Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Canada and the United States "will effectively share common standards" for limiting vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

The two countries are working together on proposed standards for tractor-trailer trucks, which should be released in the next few months, Prentice said.

The North American auto industry is highly interlinked, and Canada has said its strategy for emissions also hinges on U.S. policy because of the two nations' integrated economies.   Continued...

<p>Traffic lines a highway to Dallas in advance of Hurricane Rita in north Houston September 22, 2005.REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>