EPA, DOT to roll back emissions standards, as industry urged

EPA, DOT to roll back emissions standards, as industry urged

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are expected to jointly announce a rollback of the more stringent emissions standards approved by the Obama administration in January. Several news sources Automotive News, the New York Times and Bloomberg said the announcement is expected as early as this week.

The Obama standards require an average fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The current figure is around 36 mpg. The two major automaker associations the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers had sent the Trump administration a letter requesting an easing of the emissions rules. The automakers said it would cost them $200 billion to comply with the rules.

NADA has also worked closely with the administration on the issue. The industry has said that the shifting consumer preferences for more polluting SUVs and light trucks make it harder for automakers to meet the emissions requirements.

The regulatory change does not require Congressional action. There had been some question about whether the Obama administration regulation could be easily reversed, but the Trump administration apparently found a loophole because DOT was not part of the EPA action in January, although the initial regulation was announced by both agencies jointly.

EPA will also start the process of revoking a waiver for California, which now is allowed to enforce stricter rules than other states. That action could be important locally, as Maryland is one of states that follow California emissions standards. The regulations are locked in through MY 2021, but changes by the Trump administration would affect the fleet from 2021 through 2025.

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