Biden raises fuel economy standards to combat climate change

In an important step to combat climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions, reversing a Trump-era rollback that lowered efficiency standards. made out of fuel.

TO final rule issued Monday would raise mileage standards beginning with model year 2023, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026. The new standard is 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration in the year last and 5% higher than a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency in August.

“We are setting strong and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce pollution that harms people and our planet, while saving families money,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. He called the rule “a major step forward” in meeting President Joe Biden’s climate agenda “while paving the way for a zero-emission, all-electric transportation future.”

The move comes a day after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin dealt a potentially fatal blow to Biden. $ 2 Billion Social and Environmental Policy Bill, jeopardizing the Democrats’ agenda and enraging the White House. The West Virginia senator said he could not support the broad bill, which includes a series of climate proposals, and said it was too costly and could lead to inflation and expand mounting federal debt.

The now-stagnant bill includes a $ 7,500 tax credit for buyers to lower the cost of electric vehicles.

The administration will “continue to fight tirelessly” for EV tax credits and other incentives in the so-called Build Back Better bill, Regan said, but even without them, “we think we came up with a rule that is doable, it’s affordable, it’s achievable. and we are excited about that. ”

The new mileage rules are the most ambitious tailpipe pollution standards ever set for passenger cars and light trucks. The standards raise the mileage targets set by the Trump administration that would hit just 32 miles per gallon in 2026. Biden had set a goal of 38 miles per gallon in August.

The standards will also help expand the market share of zero-emission vehicles, the administration said, with the goal of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles reaching 17% of new vehicles sold by 2026. The vehicles are expected to electric and plug-in hybrids have around 7% market share in 2023.

The EPA said the rule would not only slow climate change, but also improve public health by reducing air pollution and reducing costs for drivers through better fuel efficiency.

Biden has set a goal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030, while driving a historic shift in the U.S. from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles. .

@JoeBiden drives fuel economy standards to fight climate change. #USPoli

He has urged that the components needed to make that radical change, from batteries to semiconductors, also be made in the United States, with the goal of both industry and the union supporting the environmental effort, promising new jobs and thousands. millions in federal electric vehicles. investments.

While ambitious, the new standards provide adequate lead time for automakers to meet at reasonable costs, the administration said. EPA’s analysis shows that the industry can meet the final standards with modest increases in the number of electric vehicles entering the fleet.

Environmental and public health groups mostly praised the new rules, while the trade association representing most of the major automakers reacted cautiously.

Automakers are “committed to a cleaner, safer and smarter future,” but EPA’s final rule for greenhouse gas emissions is more aggressive than originally proposed, “requiring an increase. Substantial in EV sales, well above 4% of all light-duty sales today, “said John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. The group represents the manufacturers that produce nearly 99% of the new cars and light trucks sold in the US.

“Achieving the goals of this final rule will undoubtedly require the enactment of supportive government policies, including consumer incentives … and support for US manufacturing and supply chain development,” he said. Bozella in a statement.

“We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief now that a strong federal clean car rule is reinstated,” said Morgan Folger of Environment America, an advocacy group.

Despite pushback from the auto industry, the rule will significantly reduce air and climate pollution, Folger said. She called the announcement “a victory” on climate that will help create “a path to a future with zero emissions from our cars and trucks.”

EPA’s action is “an important step forward that will reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution and improve lung health,” added Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association.

The EPA called the new rule critical to addressing climate change. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 29% of all emissions. Within the transportation sector, passenger cars and trucks are the biggest contributors, accounting for 58% of all transportation-related emissions and 17% of total U.S. carbon emissions.

The final standards will contribute to a goal set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement to keep the global average temperature rise well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels, the EPA said. The United States rejoined the Paris accord on Biden’s first day in office after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the global pact.

The new rules would start with the car model year 2023 and increase emissions reductions year over year through model year 2026. The rule accelerates the emission reduction rate to between 5 and 10% each year from 2023 to 2026, said the EPA, much higher. than under the above rules.

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