By Ben Geman - 03/10/10 05:16 PM EST
The rule represents a deal between states, automakers and the federal government. It phases in tougher mileage standards more quickly than a 2007 law that increased the standards requires.
But automakers gain because California and roughly a dozen other states that follow its lead on emissions rules are deferring to the federal standard for the 2012-2016 period, thereby helping the manufacturers avoid a patchwork of state emissions rules.
The White House is fighting a proposal by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would nullify EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Murkowski fears the economic effects of regulating stationary sources like power plants, but administration officials are emphasizing that her plan would also upend the auto rule.