US President Barack Obama has announced plans to reduce emissions from vehicles and make them more fuel efficient
Obama said the new national standards would reduce US dependence on foreign oil and plan for the future of the vehicle industry.
Under the new standards, US passenger vehicles and light trucks must average 35.5 miles per gallon (6.62 litres per 100km) by 2016. This means the whole of the US will sahre a coherent standard imposed by California and several other states.
Obama said this would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the programme, or the same as taking about 58 million cars off the roads.
"In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible," said Obama.
"That is why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington. As a result of this agreement, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. And at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, this rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century."
The Environmental Protection Agency would regulate tailpipe emissions for the first time under the standards.