EPA Says New Fuel-Economy Rule Is a 'Giant Step Forward'

Biden sets ambitious new standards
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 20, 2021 12:46 PM CST
Feds Set 'Robust' New Fuel-Economy Standards
President Biden salutes as he steps off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026—25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August, the AP reports. "We are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet—and save families money at the same time," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

Regan called the rule "a giant step forward" in delivering on President Biden’s climate agenda "while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future." The mileage rules being announced Monday are the most ambitious tailpipe pollution standards ever set for passenger cars and light trucks. The standards raise mileage goals set by the Trump administration that would achieve only 32 miles per gallon in 2026. Biden had set a goal of 38 miles per gallon in August. While ambitious, the new standards provide adequate lead time for auto manufacturers to comply at reasonable costs, the administration said. EPA’s analysis shows the industry can comply with the final standards with modest increases in the numbers of electric vehicles entering the fleet.

The new rules would begin with the 2023 car model year and increase emissions reductions year by year through model year 2026. The EPA called the new rules critical to address climate change. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, making up 29% of all emissions. The move comes a day after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin delivered a potentially fatal blow to Biden’s $2 trillion social and environmental policy bill, saying it was too expensive. The now-stalled bill includes a $7,500 tax credit to buyers to lower the cost of electric vehicles. (More vehicle emissions stories.)

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