WASHINGTON—Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has not yet revealed details of how he plans to revise greenhouse gas emissions and corporate average fuel economy standards for model years 2022-25.
Rubber industry-connected stakeholders in GHG and CAFE standards, while not enthusiastic about sweeping changes to the 2022-25 standards, endorse Pruitt's pending reconsideration of the Clean Air Act waiver granted to the State of California allowing it to impose stricter standards than the federal government.
"Cooperative federalism doesn't mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country," Pruitt said in his April 2 announcement regarding GHG and CAFE standards.
"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," he said.
The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, though not supporting significant changes to 2022-25 GHG and CAFE standards, has long agreed with Pruitt that a "One National Program" approach to setting emissions and fuel standards is completely appropriate.
"MEMA strongly supports a One National Program with the EPA, NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and California," MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh said in his official statement on Pruitt's April 2 release.
"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 to make the long-term business and technology investment decisions to meet the MYs 2022-25 standards and beyond."
Advocacy for a One National Program on GHG and CAFE standards is a long-standing MEMA position.
Laurie Holmes, MEMA senior director of environmental policy, testified before the EPA in September 2017, advocating the One National Program combined with an even keel on federal standards.
"The National Program standards for MYs 2017-25 have provided regulatory certainty and stability to suppliers, supporting supplier jobs, supporting long-term business and technology investments, and allowing the industry to become global innovation leaders," Holmes said.
"This critical regulatory certainty has enabled suppliers to advance viable products necessary for vehicle manufacturers to meet the GHG standards," she said.
While MEMA wasn't opposed to tweaks in the 2022-25 CAFE standards, Holmes said, it urged the EPA to stand fast on standards through model year 2021.
"A shift to the MY 2021 standards would significantly increase the level of uncertainty for the supplier industry in an already uncertain time," she said.
MEMA members comprise the largest single sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., according to the association.
It represents more than 1,000 companies employing more than 871,000 workers in all 50 states, according to MEMA. The technologies and components MEMA members provide to vehicle manufacturers comprise 77 percent of the value of a new vehicle, it said.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said it already is well ahead of the curve on carbon dioxide reductions, however the standards are revised.
"The auto sector has already made significant carbon reduction in its products," the Alliance said in an April 2 fact sheet. "Fleet-wide CO2 reductions are already more than 21 percent lower than in 2005."
Current requirements for GHG-CAFE standards are nearly double those required by the Paris Climate Accord, according to the Alliance.
"While the 2022-25 standards are undergoing a midterm review, the overall contribution of autos to carbon reduction will still greatly exceed the Paris stringency, regardless of the results of the midterm review," it said.
Whatever happens with the EPA revisions, industry stakeholders must present a united front to ensure the U.S. remains the leader in fuel economy innovation, according to Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
"Your voice is stronger when you are unified," Dingell said at a March 20 MEMA briefing at the National Press Club in Washington.
In advocating for strong government standards, Dingell said all industry stakeholders must recognize and fight for twin goals.
One is to protect the environment, and the other is to ensure the affordability of all new automotive technology, she said.