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AZ Advocates Celebrate EPA Clean Car Standards

April 2, 2010

PHOENIX - New federal clean car standards will require improved gas mileage and reduced car and truck emissions over the next six years. Arizona environmental and public health groups are praising the rules, saying the result will be lower overall transportation costs and improved public health.

Barbara Burkholder, former director of Arizona's Public Health Association, says the rules will also produce significant health benefits.

"It's good for babies who breathe more pollution per-pound of body; it's good for all of us in the community and it's good for people who have lung and heart disease. This is going to be a great improvement."

The Phoenix region currently is in violation of federal air pollution standards. The new clean-car requirements will boost average fuel economy to nearly 36 miles per gallon by 2016, while cutting emissions by 30 percent.

Burkholder, who drives a five-year-old Toyota Prius that gets 54 miles per gallon, says the new clean car standards will mean overall savings for new car and truck buyers.

"You may pay a little bit more to purchase your car, but the amount of fuel you have to buy will be drastically less."

The new rules will bring the rest of the country in line with California's more-stringent emission and fuel economy requirements, which Arizona adopted in 2008, Burkholder says.

"What's so remarkable about this announcement by EPA is that it makes these standards nationwide. You begin to change the whole fleet of vehicles in the United States, you're going to get a more-rapid improvement."

The new standards mark the first time the EPA is regulating greenhouse gases under the authority of the Clean Air Act.

Groups supporting the EPA standards include the Arizona Public Health Association, Sierra Club, Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Republicans for Environmental Protection, and Environment Arizona.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ