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Final Rules Set on Car Emission Standards

WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly issued final rules for greenhouse gas emissions for automobiles and light trucks last week, which will result in an increase in the average fuel economy for U.S. vehicles, The New Yourk Times reported.

The new rules set emissions and mileage standards that result in a combined fuel economy average for new vehicles of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, according to the report, which noted most drivers will see lower mileage when actually driving. Officials claim the changes will save the owner of an average 2016 car approximately $3,000 in fuel over the life of the vehicle, while removing nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gases over the lifetime of all regulated vehicles. The rules are expected to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases by roughly 30 percent from 2012 to 2016, the newspaper reported.

"This is a significant step toward cleaner air and energy efficiency and an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand in hand," Lisa P. Jackson, an administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in the report.

However, the new efficiency numbers will add around $1,000 to the cost of the average new car by 2016, according to industry and government estimates cited by the Times. The rules adapt the standards currently in place in California, and automakers have praised the fact that the rules set a nationwide standard for emissions, the report stated.

"This is an example of where the federal government has actually done something right," said Gloria Bergquist, a vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "A year ago, we were facing piecemeal policies set out by E.P.A., D.O.T. and groups of different states. Our auto engineers cannot design vehicles to different standards."

Meanwhile, the EPA is writing greenhouse gas standards for stationary sources. Officials have said these regulations would not go into effect before next year at the earliest, though they are already being challenged by opponents, including lawmakers, state governments and industry groups.
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