State officials, environmentalists applaud new federal fuel efficiency standards

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The Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency and emissions standards for cars drew praise today from California environmentalists and state officials. They converged on L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum to explain how the Golden State has already paved a green road.

Surrounded by an exhibit of electric vehicles, Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California said the new federal rules take the Golden State’s Clean Car standards and apply them across the rest of the country.

"This is California leading the nation on bringing a cleaner energy future, kicking our addiction to oil, and solving global warming," Del Chiaro said.

She joined a group at the museum that included California Air Resources Board head Mary Nichols, and State Senator Fran Pavley of West Los Angeles, who wrote California’s original clean car legislation nine years ago. Pavley recalled heavy opposition back then from oil companies and conservative talk show hosts.

"(They were) just blasting this law, warning motorists that we were gonna take away the cars they wanted to drive, telling them that gas would cost more," Pavley remembered.

California passed the law in 2002, and 13 other states have created similar standards. The new federal rules boost current national fuel efficiency standards by almost 10 miles per gallon.

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