Environmental Protection Agency to Revamp Vehicle Emissions Standards

Apr 6, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that Obama-era regulations to lower greenhouse gas emissions are too aggressive, stating they are “not appropriate and should be revised.” The regulations implemented under President Obama strove to cut down on hazardous vehicle emissions by increasing fuel efficiency. The target was for vehicles to have an average of over 50 miles per gallon by 2025. EPA will now initiate a new notice and comment rulemaking to consider more appropriate standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles. 

Automakers strongly supported this decision after having spent time fervently advocating the Trump Administration for the repeal of these regulations. Among their arguments, they contend that the car market has changed since the advent of the regulations back in 2011. In January, the EPA released a report noting that 2016 model year vehicles did not meet these greenhouse gas standards for the first time since their implementation.

While the EPA’s recent announcement received a positive reception from automakers, the sentiment was not universal. Auto part suppliers argued that investments made in more fuel efficient technologies will be undermined by changing course on emissions standards, as well as erode U.S. leadership in fuel efficient vehicle technologies. According to a report last year by the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, there are more than 1,200 operations in 48 states and 288,000 workers making components and materials that go directly into improving vehicle fuel economy.

In 2011, following the implementation of the Federal regulations, the state of California agreed to align its standards with those at the Federal level. In response to these amended Federal regulations, the California Air Resources Board said, “California paved the way for a single national program and is fully committed to maintaining it. This rumored finding—if official—places that program in jeopardy…weakening the program will waste fuel, increase emissions, and cost consumers more money.” 

To view official notice signed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that was submitted for publication in the Federal Register, click here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-04/documents/mte-final-determination-notice-2018-04-02.pdf