Saturday, January 22, 2022

US raising auto emissions standards to fight climate change, says govt

The new regulations approved by the Biden administration reverse previous, less stringent rules his predecessor Donald Trump had backed, and show how Biden's White House is using regulatory power to curb emissions.

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The US announced Monday it will increase standards for emissions from cars and trucks, implementing the new rules over three years from 2023, in President Joe Biden’s latest bid to fight climate change.

“We followed the science, we listened to stakeholders and 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,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan said when announcing the standards.

The new regulations approved by the Biden administration reverse previous, less stringent rules his predecessor Donald Trump had backed, and show how Biden’s White House is using regulatory power to curb emissions.

Their announcement comes as Biden’s massive Build Back Better social spending plan may have been dealt a mortal blow after a crucial Democratic senator said he would not support the US$1.75 trillion proposal, which would have paid for new initiatives to fight climate change.

Under the new EPA rules, the average fleetwide fuel consumption standards would rise to 55 miles per gallon by 2026, up from 43 miles per gallon under Trump.

The EPA estimates the new standards will save Americans between US$210 and US$420 billion on fuel costs by 2050, while removing more than three billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the same period.

US automakers have already announced major investments in electric vehicles and more fuel-efficient cars, but industry group the Alliance for Automotive Innovation warned the new standards will be hard to meet without help from the government.

The “EPA’s final rule for greenhouse gas emissions is even more aggressive than originally proposed, requiring a substantial increase in electric vehicle sales, well above the 4% of all light-duty sales today,” its president John Bozzella said.

“Achieving the goals of this final rule will undoubtedly require enactment of supportive governmental policies – including consumer incentives, substantial infrastructure growth, fleet requirements and support for US manufacturing and supply chain development.”

The EPA predicted that compared to cost increases to meet the standard, consumers will save about $1,000 through lower fuel prices over the lifetime of the average 2026 model year vehicle.

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