Mar 31, 2020 - Energy & Environment

EPA and DOT to unveil new gas mileage and carbon emissions rules

Reproduced from EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Transportation Department and the EPA are scheduled to unveil final rules Tuesday that set vehicle mileage and carbon emissions requirements through model year 2026 — but the battle over these regulations is not over.

Why it matters: Transportation overtook electric power as the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions a few years ago, but the new rules are slated to be far weaker than the Obama-era requirements they're replacing.

The big picture, via AP:

  • "The Trump administration says the looser mileage standards will allow consumers to keep buying the less fuel-efficient SUVs that U.S. drivers have favored for years."
  • "Opponents say it will kill several hundred more Americans a year through dirtier air, compared to the Obama standards."

The intrigue: Today's unveiling is just the end of one phase in the fight over vehicle standards, and there's lots of uncertainty ahead.

  • The rules will be the subject of a lengthy court battle as environmentalists and California officials push back.
  • If Joe Biden wins in November's presidential election, his administration would seek to impose tougher requirements.
  • The industry is split, with four automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — reaching a preliminary deal with California last year to meet tougher standards than the White House is contemplating.
Chart showing new vehicle makes.
Reproduced from EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals
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