EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in early April that the agency has completed a midterm evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light duty trucks for the new upcoming model years 2022 through 2025. These changes are being discussed because the data is not sufficient to support the standards as currently written from the time when Obama was president.
“The Obama Administration’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement. He said Obama’s EPA cut the rules process short “with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high.”
This statement and charge for change reflect a continued push by auto manufacturers urging the Trump Administration to roll back the current regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. In February of last year, the president met with auto executives and discussed the new requirements for 2022-2025.
For the most part, Trump encouraged the manufacturers to create more jobs in the United States in exchange for a favorable tax and regulatory treatment. At the time of the meeting, the gas mileage requirement for large cars was 33 mpg, which would translate to roughly a 25 mpg real-world result. With the new 2025 target regulation, the average fuel economy would require a 54.5 mpg, or a 40 mpg in real-world driving.
Gas prices were higher last year, and small-to-medium vehicles were more popular. Now, gas prices are lower and more stable. This has lead to a trend towards larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs. In fact, sales of light duty trucks have gone up from 57.9% to 61.9% of the total auto market in America in recent years. Many automakers have argued that the new standards will be very hard to achieve given the current industry trends.
Environmental officials are urging on anyway.
“States and our nation need to continue to increase efforts to reduce air pollutant emissions, and cars and trucks are among the largest source of these contaminants,” the officials said.