EPA to relax Obama-era auto emissions standards

The revision will be a hit to the fight against climate change.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rollback of Obama-era vehicle fuel efficiency emissions regulations is a win for the auto industry, but a blow for climate change.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday announced that the agency is planning to revise the standards for cars and light trucks manufactured between 2022 and 2025.

Scott Pruitt EPA

Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator.

Greenhouse gas emissions currently in place were codified days before the end of President Barack Obama’s term. He required automakers to double fuel economy to more than 50 mpg, which will replaced by a standard developed jointly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the EPA,

“The Obama Administration's determination was wrong,” said Pruitt in a news release. “Obama’s EPA…made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high.”

Findings by the EPA show that 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions is from transportation, the leading source of emissions in the U.S. just behind electricity. 

"The buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, resulting in changes to the climate we are already starting to see today," the EPA page reads.

Earlier this year, Protect Our Winters released a study backing what we already know: Climate change is a threat to our winter fun and our economy.

But nonetheless, the EPA under Pruitt is also moving to reexamine a waiver that allows California to impose standards for vehicle emissions of certain pollutants that are stricter than federal requirements, set under the Clean Air Act. Other states, such as New York, Oregon, and Maine, have been allowed to adopt California’s standards.

“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Pruitt said. “EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford — while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars. It is in America's best interest to have a national standard, and we look forward to partnering with all states, including California, as we work to finalize that standard.”

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