"The Obama administration today plans to propose tough standards for tailpipe emissions from new automobiles, establishing the first nationwide regulation for greenhouse gases.
It will also raise fuel efficiency targets to 35.5 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles and light trucks by 2016, four years earlier than required under the 2007 energy bill, sources close to the administration said. (...)
The deal has been under negotiation since the first days of the administration. It represents a compromise among the White House; the state of California; and the auto industry, which has long sought national mileage standards and has waged an expensive legal battle against the California waiver. The industry will get its national standard, but at the price of one that approximates California's targets. Industry officials said they would drop all related lawsuits."
"Another significant change in the new standards is that the new standards will include tougher standards for each class size of vehicles, as well as a higher average across each company’s fleet, according to the official. The previous rules covered only the fleet average, which meant that companies could offset a giant SUV with some more fuel efficient models.
"This has the effect of preserving consumer choice," said the official. "You can continue to buy whatever size car you like, all cars get cleaner.""
"The official also estimated that this emissions reductions from the CAFE increase will equate to taking 177 million cars off the road, or shutting down 194 coal-fired power plants."