The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have jointly established the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards.

The new standards will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the US.

EPA Administrator Lisa P Jackson said that this is a significant step towards cleaner air and energy efficiency, and an important example of how US economic and environmental priorities go hand-in-hand.

The new national programme aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 960 million metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles regulated, equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off the road in 2030.

It aims to conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles regulated.

It will enable the average car buyer of a 2016 model year vehicle to enjoy a net saving of $3,000 over the lifetime of the vehicle, as upfront technology costs are offset by lower fuel costs.

Nationally, this will conserve nearly 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lives of the vehicles covered.

The new rule is part of the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy programme and greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act for 2012 through 2016 model-year vehicles.