WASHINGTON—As expected, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said his agency will revise the greenhouse gas emissions and corporate average fuel economy standards for vehicle model years 2022-25.
The decision, Pruitt said April 2, coincides with the completion of the required Midterm Evaluation of the GHG and CAFE standards set by the Obama administration in 2012. The agency said new data shows the standards to be obsolete.
"The Obama administration's determination was wrong," Pruitt said in a press statement. "Obama's EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high."
Pruitt also said the agency was re-examining a Clean Air Act waiver granted to California to impose stricter standards than federal law for vehicle emissions of certain pollutants.
"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."
In response to the EPA announcement, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association said that while it supports adjustments to the 2022-25 CAFE standards, it does not support significant changes to the standards.
MEMA pledged to keep working with the EPA, the state of California and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on standards that strike a balance between consumer choice, affordability and technological development.
"MEMA strongly supports a One National Program with the EPA. NHTSA and California," the association said. "Anything that falls short of a National Program with an aligned set of standards will fail to provide the long-term planning certainty suppliers need."
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said its members were close to achieving the greenhouse gas emissions goals set in the Paris Climate Accord.
Even with a pending EPA revision, "the overall contribution of autos to carbon reduction will still greatly exceed the Paris stringency," the Alliance said.
However, the Consumer Federation of America said the EPA announcement was a bad deal for American consumers.
"American families cannot afford to spend more money at the pump," said Jack Gillis, CFA director of public affairs. "They do not deserve to be saddled with gas-guzzling vehicles that will wreak havoc on their household finances when gas prices inevitably spike again."