President Bush on Monday, May 14, issued an Executive Order to federal agencies to pursue regulatory options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and achieve the president's "20 in 10" proposal initially announced during this year's State of the Union address. The goal of the president's "20 in 10" proposal is to decrease fossil fuel consumption by 20% in 10 years. It also includes a federal mandate for the use of 35 billion gal of alternative fuels annually, as well as a 4% annual increase in automotive fuel-efficiency standards beginning in 2010.
The Supreme Court ruled on April 2 that the administration has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the decision stopped short of ordering the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions emitted by automobiles. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said after the announcement that the EPA is still working to sort out what the decision means to the agency's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from other mobile and stationary sources.
In his statement announcing the Executive Order, the president said that implementing its goals should not compromise jobs or safety and should not be a substitute for congressional action. Legislation is pending in the Senate that would mandate the use of 36 billion gal of alternative fuels annually by 2022. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a separate bill to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards by 40% by 2020, as well as increase those for medium and heavy-duty trucks.