Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

EPA Withdraws 50 MPG Target By 2025, Threatens California

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt
Alonzo Parks | 03 April, 2018, 06:17

President Trump intially pledged to review the vehicle regulations in March of previous year.

Ceres: "Rolling back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and emissions standards will undermine the global competitiveness of the USA auto industry". The friction has broader implications for carmakers because California's rules are followed by 12 other states that collectively account for about a third of US auto sales.

The EPA did not lay out a specific new set of rules, instead saying a new review process will now get underway.

California has authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own emissions limits, and it has threatened to sue if it is blocked from imposing stricter targets.

There's also the issue of cost: Obama's EPA determined that auto buyers would save money over the life of their cars because they would need to purchase less fuel to operate the cars.

"Cooperative federalism doesn't mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country", he said. "EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford - while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars", Pruitt said. Pruitt did not lay out what "more appropriate GHG emissions standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards" would be, stating that the EPA along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would begin that process.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement, Pruitt indicated he was preparing to tackle blowback from California. "But California is not the arbiter of these issues".

However, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) said the EPA announcement was a bad deal for American consumers.

One thing these automakers say they do want is a more cohesive national set of emissions standards. On Monday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency will revise the rules, Reuters reported, citing EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman.

"We are going to do everything that can been done to defend these standards", Becerra told Reuters in an interview.

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Gloria Bergquist, a vice president for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a statement, "This was the right decision and we support the administration for pursuing a data-driven effort and a single national program as it works to finalize future standards".

And that, along with other legal actions, could tie up any changes the EPA winds up making for some time.

Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia also follow the more stringent requirements created by California.

Last year, when Trump first announced his plan to reverse the auto standards, California Gov. A group of governors and mayors from California, Washington and OR also presented a unified front of Western opposition.

"We didn't ask for that", he said.

A roster of private companies also criticized the relaxing of rules. That, though, doesn't appear to be on the cards according to Administrator Pruitt's somewhat antagonistic tone in today's statement.

Given the background, Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, said, "The fact that Ford just denied that it is lobbying the Trump administration to roll back the clean vehicle rules the company agreed to and promised to support, shows that it needs to wake up and smell its pollution".

The Trump administration's EPA hasn't said what changes it will make, or whether it will scrap entirely former president Barack Obama's efforts to boost fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, though the target would be lower if more large vehicles or trucks are sold, under the complex formulas used to calculate the requirements. The move brings to bear a fight that has been brewing since the earliest days of the Trump administration, when the president called the regulations "out of control" at a meeting with executives of the big three automakers.

Still, according to the the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the cost of implementing the emissions has been overstated, in some cases by as much as 40 percent, given how quickly the costs of efficient engines, transmissions, accessories, and tires have come down.

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