In a move that was expected to happen soon, the EPA announced that it plans to revise the fuel-efficiency regulations that were approved during the President Obama administration.
“The Obama EPA’s determination was wrong. 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,” said EPA chief Scott Pruitt in a statement today.
The statement goes on to say that the agency will begin working on new standards for cars for 2022-2025 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The regulations that were finalized during Obama's tenure would require automakers to have fuel economy fleet average of over 50 mpg by 2025. Automakers have been pushing for the standards to be rolled back as it would cause vehicles to become more expensive, and consumers aren't buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
“This was the right decision. To ensure ongoing fuel economy improvement, the wisest course of action is to keep new vehicles affordable so more consumers can replace an older car with a new vehicle that uses much less fuel -- and offers more safety features," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - a trade group that represents a dozen automakers including GM and Ford.
Unsurprisingly, this move has brought forth criticism from both consumer and environmental groups.
“EPA’s decision defies the robust record and years of review that show these targets are reasonable and appropriate,” said David Friedman, director of cars and products policy and analysis for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
“Undermining these consumer protections will cost consumers more at the pump while fulfilling the wishes of the auto industry.”
The EPA also announced that it was considering revoking California's waiver that allows it to set its own emission rules that are tougher than the federal regulations. Aside from California, 12 other states have adopted these standards that together account for a third of car sales in the U.S. Since President Donald Trump entered the white house, the relationship between the EPA and California has become very strained. California officials have vowed to fight back if the EPA goes forward.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)