EPA decision on emissions could mean different cars for MD, VA

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his decision to revise the Obama administration’s fuel economy targets last week. The announcement was originally scheduled as a public event hosted by Geoffrey Pohanka at Pohanka Chevrolet in Chantilly, VA. But it was moved at the last minute to an invitation-only event at EPA headquarters, where Pruitt was introduced by NADA President and CEO Peter Welch. Several automaker representatives also attended the announcement.

 

Specific emissions standards have not yet been set. EPA has only said it will initiate a joint rulemaking with NHTSA to set new rules and potentially provide automakers more flexibility to meet them.

 

The talks will be of special importance to Washington-area dealers because of the potential for two sets of standards. California has made clear it will not back off from its more stringent standards, which align with the Obama-era standards that the current EPA has signaled it intends to discard. Twelve states (including Maryland, plus DC) follow the California standards. The rest of the country, including Virginia, does not.

 

EPA and California officials are reportedly in talks to try to reach a compromise that would allow a single standard, as EPA and the auto industry very much want. But if the talks break down, two sets of standards could potentially prevail. That could make life difficult for dealers in the Washington area who sell cars to consumers in Maryland and DC, but also those in Virginia.

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