Obama wants stronger fuel-efficiency standard

January 26, 2009 8:07:47 AM PST
President Barack Obama ordered the government Monday to re-examine whether California and other states can have tougher auto emission standards, a clean break from Bush administration policy. Jumping into the seemingly never-ending national energy debate, Obama also directed his administration to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry in time to cover 2011 model-year cars.

"For the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change," Obama said in his first formal event in the ornate East Room of the White House.

"It will be the policy of my administration," he said, "to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs."

California and at least a dozen other states have tried to come up with tougher emission standards than those imposed by the federal government, but Obama said that "Washington stood in their way." The president wants the Environmental Protection Agency to take a second look at decisions denying California - and the states that followed its model - permission to set their own standards.

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