"Consumers will pay more for cars upfront but may save money in the long term under new rules finalized Thursday by the Obama administration that will increase fuel efficiency and for the first time set greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks.
The new fuel efficiency standards, issued by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency as the result of a May 2009 deal with the auto industry, represent a peaceful end to a contentious legal battle over how to regulate tailpipe emissions. At a time when it is unclear whether Congress will pass climate legislation this year, the new rules also mark the White House's most significant achievement yet in addressing global warming.
By model year 2016 vehicles must get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon. The requirements will add as much as $985 to a vehicle's initial cost, according to EPA estimates, but buyers will save about $4,000 on fuel over the life of the car, administration officials said."