Obama to take on truck pollution with new fuel-efficiency standards

The president is sidestepping the divided Congress in his latest executive action on climate change

Topics: Climate Change, Barack Obama, Congress, greenhouse-gas emissions, CO2 emissions, , ,

Speaking from a Safeway supermarket distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md., Tuesday, President Obama is expected to announce a new round of EPA regulations aimed at limiting truck tailpipe emissions over the next two years. From the Associated Press:

The new round of fuel-efficiency standards would follow similar rules that have been finalized for the 2014-18 model years of that category of vehicles.

Under those standards, vehicle owners and operators stand to save $50 billion in fuel costs and use 530 million fewer barrels of oil, according to a White House fact sheet. Reduced fuel consumption from more fuel-efficient vehicles also means a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases that are blamed for the gradual rise in the Earth’s temperature.

Obama also was expected to announce that he’s ordering the Energy Department to provide companies that want to join an existing public-private partnership that was created to help speed up the introduction of clean, energy-efficient vehicles with specialized resources and the technical expertise they need to increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

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Obama will also be trying, once again, to get Congress to work with him on related issues, re-requesting a $4 billion cut in the annual tax breaks awarded to the oil and gas industry. Some of that money would instead be used to research and develop alternative, energy-efficient vehicles. It’s unlikely that Congress, which rejected the idea the first time around, will agree to the idea.

Still, as the New York Times points out, this is third significant effort the Obama administration has taken on climate change in just five days: On Friday, Obama announced that he’ll be asking Congress to back a $1 billion “climate resiliency” fund to help communities adapt to the effects of climate change that are already being experienced, and on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry asked Indonesia to sign a major climate treaty committed to cutting carbon pollution.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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