Clean Car Agreement Moving Auto Industry & America Forward

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama touted the remarkable turnaround of the auto industry. Critical to this turnaround was the original clean car agreement the administration brokered in 2009. That agreement helped lay the foundations for the industry’s recover by putting fuel-efficiency product plans into high gear. Last year’s agreement to double standards to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg will ensure this rebirth of the U.S. auto industry as innovation leaders continues.

In its entirety for model years 2012 to 2025, the National Program is the most important step taken in a generation to cut our oil dependency and carbon pollution.  And perhaps equally as important to moving our country forward, the clean car agreements exemplify how leadership, partnership, and compromise can help solve the enormous environmental, economic and energy challenges facing our country. 

In a world of unpredictable oil prices, it is the predictability of stronger carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards that has allowed the auto industry to assert control over its own destiny. Thanks to the original 2009 clean cars agreement to raise standards to 35.5 mpg by 2016, the industry was much better prepared, more resilient and – indeed – thriving in the face of this past year’s record high average gasoline price. In 2011, sales, profits, jobs and fuel efficiency all rose.

54. 5 mpg will spark even more innovation, create even more jobs and cement the rebirth of the U.S. auto industry. Stronger standards will strengthen and grow our economy by investing our energy dollars in the Midwest, not the Middle East.  Over the next two decades, instead of draining our wealth by importing oil, higher standards will result in $300 billion additional revenue for the U.S. auto industry and returning another $200 billion to consumer pockets. As a result, the stronger standards will create 500,000 new jobs.

The latest clean car agreement offers our country a choice. A choice between gridlock and progress. Today, automakers, regulators, labor unions and environmentalists are all working together in partnership, to build markets for clean cars, cut our dangerous dependence on oil and re-invest in American manufacturing leadership.

Let’s hope the few remaining opponents of clean car agreement do not succeed and return us to the dark days of political gridlock. The stakes are high for the U.S. auto industry, American jobs, the environment, and our nation’s future.