"Environmentalists are hailing the move as nothing short of historic," NBC's Lee Cowan said of the federal government's new fuel efficiency standards. The networks did much the same. Broad consensus from NBC's "Nightly News" and CBS's "Evening News" reflected praise for the Obama administration's latest regulatory efforts.
The federal government took a historic step April 1 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a joint proposal by EPA and Transportation Department officials, the government implemented new fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles.
"This ends a debate that lasted nearly a decade," Cowan kicked-off the "Nightly News" segment. "But now that these so-called ‘clean-car standards' are going to be mandatory across the board, it makes it the first time ever that the federal government has limited greenhouse gas emissions."
"Nightly News" featured the opinions of three individuals who praised the new regulations. "This is sort of the first time that the United States government has stepped forward, to take the biggest single step forward to solving global warming," Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California said.
Cowan did note the immediate cost to consumers however.
"But reaching that efficiency does come at a price," Cowan acknowledged. "An estimated $52 billion for car manufacturers to be paid, eventually, by the consumer - about a thousand dollar per-car maybe added onto the sticker price."
Still, even the "thousand-dollar" figure was a bit misleading. Sandra Stojkovski, president of a consulting firm specializing in systems engineering, projected the sticker-price of compact cars, mid-sized cars, and a full-sized pickup will go up $1,800 to $2,000, $4,500 to $6,000, and up to $9,000, respectively.
Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board, an organization claiming energy efficiency and fuel diversification "Will Lead to Job Growth, Energy Savings, and Rises In Personal Income," rebutted the estimated costs for automakers cited by Cowan.
"We are a car culture, we love vehicles, we like them to be new and we like them to be clean. And we think we can have both," Nichols stated.
Over at CBS "Evening News," Anthony Mason acknowledged that though the new federal requirements will be a challenge to automakers, the industry will be aided by the "dawn" of a new era.
"Well it's a real challenge," Mason told anchor Katie Couric. "But Katie we are at the dawn of the electric era, we're actually seeing that now. For example, GM just rolled the first test of its Chevy Volt off of production line in Detroit this week - ahead of schedule, defying doubters."