April 3, 2010 Barack Obama Aims To Drive Gas Guzzlers Off The Road With Greener Laws
Giles Whittell, Washington
For decades they have thundered along America’s highways and choked up parking lots, a symbol of extravagance unchallenged by politicians, emissions standards or common sense.
They are the four-wheel-drive behemoths known to the US Government as “light trucks” and to consumers as SUVs (sport utility vehicles) — but their easy ride as the world’s most conspicuous mobile polluters ended this week.
In a coup that achieves something President Clinton promised but never delivered, President Obama has forced the big three US carmakers, and their unions, to accept tough mileage rules for cars and SUVs. The rules will cut emissions from vehicles by more than a third over the next four years.
Whether the new rules end America’s love affair with huge cars remains to be seen. But they are being introduced at a time when SUV sales are at a fraction of their peak level five years ago. Their demise coincides with the country’s first mass-produced “plug-in” electric car, which finally rolled off a Michigan production line this week.
From 2016, new cars and SUVs will have to deliver an average of 35.5 miles per gallon (42.6 miles per British gallon), comparable for the first time with European and Japanese requirements.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk