Exclusive: Obama Plans New Fuel Rule

President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday plans for a new national fuel economy, or CAFE, standard for automobiles in an effort to give more certainty to car companies as they struggle for survival, industry sources told POLITICO on Monday.

The administration will bill the tailpipe-emissions announcement as historic, because it avoids a patchwork of standards and harmonizes so many stakeholders, including automakers, state governments, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

In secret conversations, the Obama administration has lined up support from many state governments and a huge array of domestic and foreign automakers, including GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and many more.

Top officials are flying into Washington from around the world for the White House announcement.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is expected to attend, the sources said.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard was established by Congress in 1975 in response to the Arab Oil embargo.

On Obama’s seventh day in office, he directed his Transportation Department to establish higher fuel efficiency standards for carmakers' 2011 model year “so that we use less oil and families have access to cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks.”

“This rule will be a down payment on a broader and sustained effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” he said. “Going forward, my administration will work on a bipartisan basis in Washington and with industry partners across the country to forge a comprehensive approach that makes our economy stronger and our nation more secure.”

This announcement implements a uniform standard for a later date.

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