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EPA proposes leaving light-duty vehicle GHG standards for MY 2022-2025 unchanged

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed leaving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for light-duty vehicle model years 2022-2025 in place, based on its technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet the targets. The final standards are projected result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which is equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.31 l/100 km), if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements.

As part of the rulemaking establishing the model year 2017-2025 light-duty vehicle GHG standards, EPA committed to conduct a Midterm Evaluation of standards for model years 2022-2025. The public comment period for this action begins today and will end on 30 December 2016. After the comment period has ended and consideration of the input, the Administrator will decide whether she has enough information to make a final determination on the model year 2022-2025 standards.

The proposed determination is based on years of technical work, including a detailed technical report released earlier this year, and the agency’s review and consideration of comments received on that report. This body of analysis shows that manufacturers can meet the standards at similar or even a lower cost than what was anticipated in the 2012 rulemaking, and that the standards will deliver significant fuel savings for American consumers, as well as benefits to public health and welfare.

Full implementation of the standards will cut about 6 billion metric tons of GHG emissions over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold in model years 2012-2025. Cars and light trucks are the largest source of GHG emissions in the US transportation sector.

Although EPA’s technical analysis indicates that the standards could be strengthened for model years 2022-2025, proposing to leave the current standards in place provides greater certainty to the auto industry for product planning and engineering, the agency said. This will enable long-term planning in the auto industry, while also benefiting consumers and the environment.

Car makers have developed more technologies to reduce GHG emissions, and these technologies—such as gasoline direct injection, more sophisticated transmissions, and stop-start systems that reduce idling fuel consumption—are entering the fleet faster than expected. EPA found that the long-term standards are achievable with very low penetration of strong hybrids, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

This finding is also consistent with the conclusions the National Academy of Sciences found in a comprehensive 2015 study.

At the end of 2015, all large automakers were in compliance with the standards. In fact, automakers on average out-performed the model year 2015 standards by seven grams per mile.

Comments

Trees

This is a good thing, albeit a concern when the auto industry looked to diesel hybrid to meet regulations. This is a direct result of EPA measuring environmental benefits solely upon MPG. They should evaluate upon another benchmark, otherwise heavy petroleum becomes the winner. For example a high blend ethanol and gasoline mix is a robust fuel to minimize environmental harm, given the MPG will be lower. For environmental concerns a winner, but per CAFE regs, if one was playing the game with EPA and attempting to stay in the auto business why bother?

Cautious9

EPA does not actually regulate based on MPG. They regulate based on g/mi of CO2. NHTSA regulates CAFE based on MPG. The 2 agencies made a serious effort to write their regulations to be as compatible as possible. This works reasonably well for gasoline vehicles, but not for other fuels. NHTSA is limited by many details in the old laws that apply to CAFE. For example, the dollar penalty for not attaining the MPG targets is fairly small. So some companies might just decide to pay the penalty rather than making more efficient cars. The Clean Air Act gives EPA a lot more leverage and flexibility in terms of making regulations that actually reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. So it is likely that EPA's CO2 rules will be more important than NHTSA's MPG rules.

Stan1

They also worked with the State of California to harmonize across all 50 States. Even if EPA and NHTSA were to reduce the rules, it seems clear California isn't going to do the same. We'd, thus, likely just end up with a two tier system again.

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