The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has admitted that Obama administration had set the fuel economy standards too high. Besides the EPA demands, automakers were struggling to meet the stringent requirements and some even resorted to unfair means to get the numbers acceptable.
Now, the EPA is said to be preparing a revision of those guidelines that is expected to be acceptable to both environmentalists and automakers for the given time frame between model years 2022 and 2025. The cherry on top could be revoking the waiver that allows California to set its own standards.
“The Obama Administration’s determination was wrong. Obama’s EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high,” EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said.
The standards Pruitt cancelled called for dramatically increasing the average fuel efficiency of new cars and light trucks to about 50 mpg. Last January, the EPA tentatively pegged 2017’s average at 25.2 mpg. Pruitt added his team will examine the waiver that lets California regulators set their own pollution standards. They’re stricter than the federal standards and they’re adopted by several other states, including New York and Massachusetts. The EPA could make California play by Washington’s rules by revoking its waiver.
“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country. 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,” Pruitt said. Meanwhile, California has vowed to fight back.
“We will vigorously defend the existing clean vehicle standards,” promised Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), in an interview with media.