By Michael Bastach
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will revise Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions regulations on cars and light duty trucks, deeming them too aggressive for automakers to meet by 2025.
EPA has a draft decision on revising fuel efficiency regulations, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. A third source familiar with the matter confirmed this to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt began reviewing the 2012 fuel efficiency regulation in 2017, which required the U.S. car fleet to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. EPA finalized the rule in conjunction with the Transportation Department as part of the Obama administration’s climate agenda.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards were first put in place in the 1970s as a result of the Arab oil embargo. Though initially put in to save energy, the Obama administration turned them into another way to fight global warming.
The Obama EPA argued their standards would cut 540 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and cut oil use by 1.2 billion barrels. The previous administration said the standards would help meet Paris climate accord goals and save consumers money.
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deemed the standards “appropriate” in a review of the regulation released just before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
However, the Trump administration will reverse course, siding with automakers who say the 2012 standards are too aggressive. Automakers began pressing the White House to review the standards early in 2017.
“The Administration is fulfilling its commitment to reinstate the midterm evaluation of future vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards,” the Auto Alliance said.
Automakers accepted regulations when they were first adopted in 2012, but have since changed their tune now that gas prices have come down and Americans, indeed much of the world, buy more SUVs and trucks.
Companies and the Obama administration did not foresee the collapse in oil prices, spurred by booming U.S. production, and lackluster sales in electric and hybrid vehicles.
Indeed, former President Barack Obama fell short of meeting his own goal of getting electric or hybrid cars on the road by 2015, despite generous subsidies and government loan guarantees.
Environmentalists pressed the Trump administration to keep the Obama-era policy as a way to keep U.S. companies competitive in a global market that’s increasingly eschewing gas-powered cars.
However, SUVs sales are still booming. SUVs and crossovers “made up more than one in three cars sold globally last year, almost tripling their share from just a decade ago,” The New York Times reported on March 3.