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"Governator" Arnold Wins Fuel Efficiency Battle

Arnold Schwarzenegger
CNBC.com
Arnold Schwarzenegger

"UNCLE!!!!!!!!!"

That's the cry you'll hear from Detroit to Washington as President Barack Obama announces a new tailpipe emission standard that mirrors the tough measures California has been trying to impose for years.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has finally brought the naysayers and feet-draggers in the auto industry to their knees. It's fitting The Terminator will be in Washington Tuesday, along with auto industry leaders to watch the President tell America it's cars and trucks will spew out less pollution in the years to come. After all, Schwarzenegger has become the face of the fight lower tailpipe emissions.

For years, California has pushed for lower tailpipe emissions. Time and again Washington has blocked California and 13 other states from setting their own standards. The Bush administration argued that allowing states to lower emissions would be unfair to auto makers and drive up the cost of vehicles. The Obama folks scoffed at this argument, and now they are standing behind their campaign promises.

The new standard will require automakers to cut tailpipe emissions by 30% by 2016. The fuel efficiency standard, currently at 27.5 MPG, will rise to 35 MPG by 2016. The automakers benefit because the new rule will give them flexibility in how they achieve the fuel efficiency requirements and there will only be one national standard, not a mishmash of varying standards state by state.

As Governor Schwarzenegger told me in Detroit last month, "I believe very strongly that there should be one standard and California was always very clear about that. But because of the leadership lacking in Washington for so many years, and not just the previous administration, but the one before that, I think it goes decades back there was no leadership and there was no one really saying here is the direction we are going to go. This is what the new standard is and we are going to stick to it and not change it." Well said Mr. Governor.

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