EPA details rationale for rewriting CAFE standards

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last week that the agency will be rolling back fuel economy mandates for 2022-25 model year vehicles. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON — The EPA on Friday formally published in the Federal Register its decision to overturn the Obama administration’s vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last week that the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for the 2022-25 model years were not appropriate and prematurely locked in before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

“The administrator determines that the current standards are based on outdated information, and that more recent information suggests that the current standards may be too stringent,” the EPA said in the public notice. “The administrator believes that the current GHG emissions standards for MY 2022-2025 light duty vehicles presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicality, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety, and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers.”

Automakers agreed to participate in the program designed to roughly double fuel economy in passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks in phases beginning in 2012 but successfully lobbied Trump to reopen a scheduled midterm review intended to make sure the targets were still realistic.

The document listed several reasons for Pruitt’s determination that the upcoming corporate average fuel economy standards are not appropriate:

• The original determination made optimistic assumptions and projections about the availability and effectiveness of emission control and alternative fuel technologies, the appropriate lead time for their introduction and consumer acceptance of electric vehicles.

• Automakers’ compliance with the standards has slowed as it becomes more difficult to wring out extra mileage after initial gains in early years of the program.

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