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Tough Emissions Standards One Step Closer

January 26th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Saying that government must work with the states — not against them — on tougher fuel standards for cars and trucks, President Barack Obama today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to allow states the right to regulate emission standards for cars. Florida is moving toward tougher standards in 2013 and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the President’s action removes a major hurdle.

Hear it Here: Tough Emissions Standards One Step Closer

New cars in Florida will have to meet tough new tailpipe emission standards by 2013 under a proposal waiting for state legislative approval . The state says the standards are the  equivalent of requiring new cars get at least 35 miles per gallon.

“This rule saves consumers money, this rule helps Florida’s energy security by reducing our reliance on foreign fuel, and this rule protects the environment,” Dept. Of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole said.

Car makers fought the change at a regulatory hearing in December, arguing it is too expensive when business is already bad.

“Vehicles will go up in price,” Ron Book with Auto Nation said. “Is that 3,000 dollars? Is it 5,000 dollars?”

The car makers lost 6-1 in December, but state lawmakers must also approve the change, and that’s going to be a tough sell.

Car makers have already started a full scale lobbying effort against the tougher standards.

Car makers have been using the argument that Florida couldn’t move ahead without federal approval that they would never get. Environmentalists say the car makers have now lost one of their strongest points.

“Well now, with what Obama has done, Florida can have its own rule,” Eric Draper with the Fl. Audubon Society said. “And one of the objections the legislature has is now swept out of the way.”

Car makers will continue to argue a change is bad for the economy. But regulators say the cars will pay for themselves in 6 years, while reducing dependence on foreign oil.

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