Trump officials begin review of Obama emissions standards for cars
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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on June Two. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
The Trump administration gave notice it intends to unwind the rules governing greenhouse gas emissions on fresh model cars Thursday, in its latest stir to undo President Barack Obama’s climate policies.
In a notice on the federal register, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department announced they were considering rewriting emissions standards for cars and light trucks made inbetween two thousand twenty one and 2025.
While other climate-change initiatives spearheaded by President Obama — like the EPA strategy for reducing emissions from power plants, called the Clean Power Plan — received more scrutiny from industry and conservative critics, emissions standards for cars are just as consequential for curbing the buildup of atmosphere-warming gases, analysts said.
“The benefits from those rules are comparable to the Clean Power Plan in terms of greenhouse gas reductions,” said Dave Cooke, a senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Worried Scientists. “The program as a entire is fairly significant.”
The notice commences a 45-day public comment period on a potential refreshment of the rules for cars and light trucks.
“We are moving forward with an open and sturdy review of emissions standards, consistent with the timeframe provided in our regulations,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. As recently as Wednesday, Pruitt in a radio interview brushed off the large bod of research establishing that human activity is heating the Earth as “so-called lodged science.”
In March, the EPA announced that it wished to withdraw final determination on the stricter fuel-efficiency standards. But critics of the administration were astonished how expansive the review announced this week will be.
The EPA opened up the review period to include two thousand twenty one model vehicles, instead of kicking off at two thousand twenty two model cars as the agency had originally indicated.
The agencies also added ten extra factors, such as consumer preference, to be considered when finalizing the fresh standards.
“It was indeed surprising to see that,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumers Union, the public policy division of Consumer Reports, adding that the decision to include two thousand twenty one vehicles in the review was a sign of “ aggression on the part of the administration.”
In 2012, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a part of the Transportation Department, adopted rules requiring the nation’s car and light trucks to average 54.Five miles per gallon by 2025.
Automakers objected, arguing that the standards were too stringent to meet. After Trump’s surprise election victory, industry groups, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, pressed the fresh administration to reconsider the rule.
“In my opinion, these extra factors reflect direct input from the manufacturers,” said Margo Oge, a former director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, in an email.
The review embarks amid signs that car companies are moving toward greater efficiency, with or without the federal government’s guidance.
In July, Swedish automaker Volvo vowed to make all its vehicles hybrids or electrics commencing in 2019. Earlier this month, Japan-based Honda introduced a fresh all-electric sedan in California and Oregon to contest with Tesla’s fresh line of more affordable electrified vehicles.
“It is clear that the Asian manufacturers in the United States are fully capable of meeting this standard,” said Jack Gillis, director of the Consumer Federation of America and author of “The Car Book.” Noting consumer surveys that indicate car buyers choose fuel-efficient vehicles that save them money at the gas pump, he added: “ The very first loser will be the domestic car companies.”
And climate policies set by nations such as France and the United Kingdom, which both plan to ban all diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040, will proceed to form international auto markets and drive car companies to proceed lowering emissions.
Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.