Automakers have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief to withdraw a decision made in the Obama administration’s final days that upheld light-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards through 2025.
In a Feb. 21 letter, the Association of Global Automakers asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to withdraw the agency’s Jan. 13 determination that greenhouse gas emissions standards through 2025 should remain unchanged from when they took effect in 2012.
The Washington D.C.-based trade group, which represents the U.S. operations of Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and nine other carmakers, asked Pruitt to resume a review of the standards in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is developing vehicle fuel economy regulations for 2022-2025.
The EPA’s decision followed a review that began last year to determine whether the rules from 2022-2025 were feasible. Automakers say it was unfairly cut short by the Obama administration.
Global Automakers Chief Executive Officer John Bozzella wrote that the EPA’s move to finalize its standards in January violated a "central tenet" of the pact because it came more than a year before NHTSA was expected to complete its fuel economy standards.
"Politics is not a reason for running roughshod over important procedural protections found in the Clean Air Act," Bozzella wrote in the group’s letter.
The letter marks an escalation in the auto industry’s campaign to shape efficiency regulations that they say are overly demanding amid cheap gasoline and tepid demand for the most fuel-efficient vehicles. They may also find a friendly response from Pruitt, who focused his political career attacking Obama administration efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2011, automakers agreed to the 2025 efficiency rules in a landmark deal brokered by the Obama administration to boost fuel economy to a fleet average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The agreement aligned tailpipe greenhouse gas limits set by the EPA and California’s Air Resources Board with fuel economy regulations governed by the NHTSA.
By Ryan Beene