Bookmark and Share

More press releases

For Immediate Release, May 19, 2009

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

Obama Reverses Course and Raises National Gas-mileage Standard for
Cars, Trucks, and SUVs

WASHINGTON President Obama today announced a plan to increase national gas-mileage standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs to 35.5 mpg by 2016, ahead of the existing deadline to achieve 35 mpg by 2020. Current European and Japanese standards are approximately 43.3 and 42.6 mpg, respectively; China’s standard is 35.8 mpg this year.

Last month, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit to strike down the Obama administration’s gas-mileage standards for model year 2011. The administration set standards of only 30.2 mpg for passenger cars and 24.1 mpg for SUVs and pick-up trucks in 2011, both significantly lower than the proposal under the Bush administration for the same year.

“This is an important step forward in fulfilling the promise to make the United States a leader in the fight against global warming,” said Brian Nowicki, California climate policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But it is critical that we continue to push for more ambitious automobile standards; under today’s proposal the U.S. fuel economy would still be lower in 2016 than China achieves today.”

The federal fuel-economy standards vary by automakers and by vehicle size. This system assigns the least stringent standards to the largest trucks and SUVs, which encourages automakers to continue to build gas-guzzling vehicles. By contrast, the California standards set limits on greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging the production of higher efficiency vehicles. The Obama proposal will result in a joint rulemaking by the Department of Transportation under the CAFÉ statute and the EPA, which is separately required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act.

Figure 1: Fuel Economy by Country/Region. Source: Passenger Vehicle Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy Standards: A Global Update, ICCT (December, 2008); Bush proposal for 2011-2015 and the final Obama standard of 27.3 mpg has been added to the ICCT graphic.


Obama’s 2009 Final Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2011

Bush’s 2008 Proposed Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2011

Bush’s 2006 Final Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2011

Lawsuit Challenges Obama Fuel Economy Standards

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 220,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Go back