Obama highlighted the fuel economy standards in a speech Tuesday at an aluminum plant in Iowa, as he has done before.
But instead of mentioning climate change directly, he described how he and others told U.S. automakers that in exchange for government aid, “they’d have to make some changes to compete, so we brought people together and set the first new fuel-mileage standards in more than 30 years. And that means fewer trips to the pump and less harmful pollution.”
Although the George W. Bush administration had sought to block regulation of vehicles’ greenhouse-gas emissions — which California and more than a dozen states had pushed to do — Obama embraced it. In May 2009, he brokered a deal between automakers, California officials, environmentalists and unions that incorporated California’s standards into a national program, an agreement that all sides hailed as breaking a decades-long stalemate over fuel efficiency.
That deal set greenhouse-gas emission limits for vehicles in the 2012 through 2016 model years. Now, officials are working on the rules for later models — and those are more ambitious.