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On Tuesday, President Obama will lay out a new proposal that aims to require strict national standards for passenger car emissions.

In an effort to make good on his promise to mirror the requirements California wishes to set, he will mandate that passenger cars reduce CO2 emissions an average of 30% by 2016. Since CO2 emissions are directly proportional to the amount of gasoline burned, this will translate to a requirement of a fleet average 35 mpg for each automaker.

Current standards are 27.5 mpg for cars and 24 mpg for trucks.  The 35 mpg goal will be for trucks and cars combined, specifically with 42 mpg the standard for cars and 26 mpg for light trucks.

Obama will make the announcement of the proposal in the company of several lawmakers and automotive executives to show their negotiated support. This mandate will increase the expenditure required by automakers, and where the money to do so will come from is uncertain.

There are $50 billion in low cost loans available to automakers to retool existing operation for the purpose of making fuel efficient vehicles. Automakers must first be viable to receive these loans, which make them off limits to Chrysler and GM for the moment.

California has been attempting to mandate its own state emissions standards for years, something automakers have fought because it becomes extremely expensive to meet different standards for all the different states they sell cars in.  The new announcement in effect nationalizes these strict California standards and although meeting them will be a challenge for automakers clamoring to achieve profitability at least sets a single goalpost.

Whether Americans will embrace these lighter, smaller, more efficient vehilce remains to be seen.  Of course we here at want to go even one step further, no gas at all.

Source (Detroit Free Press) and (New York Times)