EPA Indicate Intention to End 'Midterm Evaluation' of Emissions Standards
In a November 30, 2016 press release the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that an extensive technical analysis shows automakers are well positioned to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards established in 2012, for model years 2022-2025. According to the EPA, this nearly doubles fuel economy, dramatically cuts carbon pollution, maintains regulatory certainty for a global industry and saves American drivers billions of dollars at the pump. As McCarthy indicated, "It's clear from the extensive technical record that this program will remain affordable and effective". It was also highlighted that at the end of 2015, all large automakers, on average, out-performed the model year 2015 standards by seven grams per mile, with the industry thriving and domestic vehicle sales increasing for six consecutive years. Meanwhile, consumers still have a choice across a full range of vehicle sizes and types.
As part of the October 15, 2012 Final Rule 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. A Technical Assessment Paper (1,217 page draft report) issued jointly by the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board was issued in July 2016. In the current press release the EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, proposed leaving the standards in place and announced a public comment period for this action beginning November 30, 2016 and ending December 30, 2016. After considering the input, the EPA Administrator will decide if they have enough information to make a final determination on the model year 2022-2025 standards. A final decision is required by April 1, 2018.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers called this action, "an extraordinary and premature rush to judgement" and filed a petition asking the EPA to withdraw this proposal. Major US OEM groups have expressed surprise and are publically commenting. By contrast, consumer and environmentalists praise this latest announcement.