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Automakers, UAW unite on tailpipe emissions

by David Zatz on

Ten automakers, including Toyota, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, have joined with the UAW in asking Congress not to stop the EPA from setting limits on tailpipe emissions. In a formal letter, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers followed a separate request from the UAW, yesterday, asking leaders to reject Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s bid to overturn the EPA’s finding that emissions of greenhouse gases are a danger to public health.

The EPA reported that nearly a quarter of greenhouse gases emitted in the United States come from motor vehicles. Proposed standards would, the EPA said, save drivers $3,000 in fuel over their vehicle’s life, while adding $1,300 to the price; they would reduce emissions by nearly 1 billion metric tons, save around 2 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the cars affected, and be similar to taking 58 million cars off the road for one year. Reducing oil use would also positively influence the United States’ trade deficit and reduce the impact of China’s burgeoning auto market on fuel prices and vehicle emissions.

The automakers and UAW believe that if the EPA is overridden, then separate standards for California, states that have California emissions rules, and the rest of the country will follow.

California is allowed by law to set its own emissions standards, because of the extent of air pollution the state had when the Clean Air Act went into force. Some states, particularly those with pollution issues (including some caused not by vehicles but by powerplant emissions in other states), have adopted the stricter California rules.

Rules are to be officially set by April 1, 2010, covering the 2012-2016 model years; the 2017 rules are as yet undecided.

Murkowski’s spokesman blamed President Obama for her actions.

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