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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Announcement of the Finalized Clean Cars Program, As Prepared

As prepared for delivery.

I’m very proud to join Secretary La Hood for this historic clean cars program. Thank you to him and his team for working so closely with EPA to strengthen and streamline this system.

Today we take another step in a journey that began in the first days of this administration. In early 2009, President Obama asked EPA to review California’s waiver request to implement fuel efficiency standards exceeding the national standards – a request that had been denied in the previous administration. With that review underway, the President brought together automakers, autoworkers, governors from across the country, transportation and environmental experts. Our goal was clear: to craft a groundbreaking clean cars agreement. Many of these groups had been in direct opposition to each other on this issue. But we saw that we could make progress by abandoning the old disputes and getting to work on new innovations. The result is a win-win program for our economy and our environment.

Cleaner car standards will mean 950 million tons of carbon pollution cut from our skies. They will mean as much as $3000 in savings for drivers of 2016 model clean cars. And they will mean $2.3 billion that can stay at home in our economy rather than buying oil from overseas.

In this plan we see a victory for automakers, who have the certainty of a single national standard. They can avoid the costly steps needed to address a patchwork of state laws – and employ more American auto workers to build clean cars.

This is a victory for American innovators and entrepreneurs. American scientists can step up to produce new composite materials that make cars lighter, safer and more fuel efficient. Our inventors can take the lead in advanced battery technology for plug-in hybrids and electric cars. And manufacturers across the country can produce these new components – which they can then sell to automakers in the US and around the globe.

This is a victory for drivers who – by 2016 – will get 35 miles to the gallon. They will spend less on fuel, and send less of their dollars overseas to pay for oil imports.

It’s a victory for our health – for people like my son, who suffers from asthma. The emissions reductions from these changes will clean up the air we breathe, especially in urban areas where auto emissions are highly concentrated and can be very harmful.

And last but not least, this is a victory for our planet, and everyone who knows that we must take action today, and not push the challenge of climate change off to the next generation. The clean cars program marks the first official action to control greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. We expect to reduce greenhouse emissions by the equivalent of 42 million cars over the life of the program.

Finally, this sends a strong statement about our willingness to come together to take meaningful action in the face of significant adversity. This initiative had the odds stacked against it. There were deep political divides, and deep concerns – when this started in early 2009 – that our economic challenges were too great for us to take on our environmental challenges. But we stepped up to do both. We didn’t shrink away with the excuse that it would be too hard. The result is a program that cleans up the air we breathe and protects our planet; saves consumers money at the pump; and fosters new innovation to strengthen the American auto industry and create new jobs. Thank you very much.