Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Barack Obama endorses low carbon fuel standard

Barack Obama endorses low carbon fuel standard

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed a federal low-carbon fuel standard patterned on California's ambitious goals.

Obama also called on U.S. automakers to double gas mileage of cars and trucks over the next two decades.

Obama assumed the stance of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who earlier this year proposed cutting carbon emissions in auto and truck fuels by 5 percent by 2015 and 10 percent by 2020.

"We know that transportation fuels account for a third of America's global warming pollution," the Illinois Senator said at a press event at a Brentwood gasoline station in Los Angeles. "And we know there are fuels available that emit less carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere, fuels like biodiesel and ethanol."

Schwarzenegger signed a groundbreaking executive order in January mandating the carbon dioxide cuts in fuels.

In February, Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain and Schwarzenegger appeared together in Long Beach, California, to say they wanted to expand the California proposals nationwide.

Obama's low-carbon fuel standard would rely on "the market" to decide which fuels would be used by distributors and blenders.

Such a standard would spur business to develop more flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol and gasoline as well as help foster growth of plug-in hybrid vehicles, Obama said.

Obama's campaign office cited published research that estimates a national low carbon fuel standard would cut global warming greenhouse gas emissions -- which are predominately carbon dioxide -- by 180 million metric tons by 2020, equal to taking more than 30 million cars off the road.