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US EPA to re-open Midterm Evaluation of 2025 GHG emission standards

15 March 2017

The Secretary of the US Department of Transportation Secretary (DOT) Elaine Chao and the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt will revisit the previous administration’s rule that finalized the 2025 GHG emission and fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles, announced the agencies.

The Midterm Evaluation process that is being revisited was established as a part of the 2012 final GHG emissions standards for model years 2017-2025. It requires EPA to determine no later than April 1, 2018, whether the 2022-2025 standards established are appropriate. If the EPA believes that the final determination issued by the previous administration is not realistic, it would submit a new proposal for public comment, said the agency.

“Today’s decision by the EPA is a win for the American economy,” said DOT Secretary Elaine Chao. “The Department of Transportation will re-open the Midterm evaluation process and work with the EPA to complete the review in a transparent, data-driven manner.”

“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment.”

The former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the Final Determination on January 12, 2017, but the rule has not been published in the Federal Register. The Final Determination found that a wide variety of effective technologies are available to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks, and that automakers are well positioned to meet the standards through model year 2025 at lower costs than predicted. The Final Determination followed the EPA’s Proposed Determination and the Draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR), issued jointly by the EPA, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB).

The previous EPA administration has accelerated the process of the statutory Midterm Evaluation of the regulations and issued the Final Determination in the final days of Obama administration, ahead of the April 2018 deadline.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers—a group that represents the majority of carmakers who supply vehicles to the US market—petitioned the then President-elect Donald Trump in November 2016, and the EPA Administrator Pruitt in February 2017, requesting that the EPA withdraw their Final Determination and reconsider the 2025 GHG emission standards.

The MY 2017-2015 GHG and fuel economy standards call for significant improvements in fuel economy, on the order of 4% per year between now and 2025. Car manufacturers have been concerned that the 2025 targets will be challenging, especially in view of the low gasoline prices and weak demand for electric vehicles.

Source: US EPA