WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026 — 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.

WASHINGTON DC DECEMBER 13: As a significant step in combating climate change, President Barack Obama has increased vehicle mileage standards. These will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

“We are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet – and save families money at the same time,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

Regan called the rule “a giant step forward” in delivering on President Joe Biden’s climate agenda “while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future.″

The move comes a day after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin delivered a potentially fatal blow to Biden’s $2 trillion social and environmental policy bill, jeopardizing Democrats’ agenda and infuriating the White House. According to the West Virginia senator, he was unable to support the legislation, which contains a number of climate-related proposals. The bill is too costly, could increase inflation, and would also add more federal debt.

These mileage standards, which will be published Monday, are among the highest ever for tailpipe pollution in passenger cars and light truck. Trump’s standards increase mileage targets, which would see only 32 MPG in 2026. Biden had previously set a 38 mile per gallon goal in August.

According to the administration, these standards will also help increase the market share for zero-emission vehicles. The goal is battery electric and hybrid vehicles representing 17% of all new cars sold by 2026. The market share of EVs, plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles is expected to be around 7% in 2023.

According to the EPA rule, it would slow climate change and improve public health. It will reduce air pollution and make driving more affordable by lowering fuel consumption.

Biden is pushing an historic transition in the U.S. to electric vehicles and internal combustion engines, setting a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50% by 2030.

He has urged that components needed to make that sweeping change — from batteries to semiconductors — be made in the United States, too, aiming for both industry and union support for the environmental effort, with the promise of new jobs and billions in federal electric vehicle investments.

The administration stated that while the standards are ambitious, they provide sufficient time for manufacturers to meet the requirements at affordable costs. EPA’s analysis shows the industry can comply with the final standards with modest increases in the numbers of electric vehicles entering the fleet.

The EPA stated that automakers continue to make investments in developing zero-emissions vehicles and making public promises to produce these cars in the future. According to the administration, the sales of EVs, and hybrids, will increase by more than doubling as standards for tailpipe pollution improve in four years.

“Making cars cleaner is critical to address climate change,″ the EPA said. Transport is responsible for 29%, or the largest percentage of US greenhouse gas emissions. Within the transportation sector, passenger cars and trucks are the largest contributor, accounting for 58% of all transportation-related emissions and 17% of overall U.S. carbon emissions.

The final standards will contribute toward a goal set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the EPA said. The U.S. rejoined the Paris agreement on Biden’s first day in office after former President Donald TrumpU.S. has withdrawn from the global agreement

These new regulations would apply to the model year 2023 cars and will increase emission reductions from year to year, through model year 2026. The rule speeds up the pace at which emissions are reduced to between 5 – 10% per year in 2023 and 2026. It is much higher than previous regulations, according to the EPA.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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