EPA announces tougher auto pollution rules

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced tougher limits on pollution from automobile exhaust pipes in a bid ...


WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced tougher limits on pollution from automobile exhaust pipes in a bid to reduce a major source of carbon dioxide emissions that heat the planet.

The stricter rule would require passenger vehicles to average 55 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2026, up from just under 38 miles per gallon today.

That would prevent the release of 3.1 billion tonnes of climate-warming carbon dioxide by 2050, according to the EPA. That would save about 360 billion gallons of gasoline, which would result in a 15% annual reduction in the country’s gasoline consumption by 2050. And motorists would save about $ 1,080 in fuel costs on the road. the lifespan of more efficient vehicles, the agency said.

The Biden administration is expected to rely heavily on executive measures and regulations such as the new escape rule after the centerpiece of the president’s climate agenda, sweeping legislation that would have transformed the energy sectors and transport, was essentially scuttled Sunday by Senator Joe Manchin. III, the West Virginia Democrat who holds the deciding vote in an equally divided Senate.

The tailpipe rule, which will take effect in 60 days and apply to model years 2023 through 2026, is somewhat of a throwback to regulations enacted by the Obama administration in 2012 that required vehicles to be Touring sold by automakers average around 51 miles. per gallon by 2025. President Donald J. Trump has lowered the standard in 2020 to about 44 miles per gallon by 2026.

“We have followed the science, we have listened to stakeholders, and we are setting strong, rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that harms people and our planet – and at the same time save families money.” Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the EPA, said in a statement.

Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gases generated by the United States, representing 29 percent of the country’s total emissions.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency found that countries should end the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 to prevent average global temperatures from rising. 1.5 Celsius, compared to industrial revolution levels. It is the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage. The planet has already warmed on average by around 1.1 degrees Celsius since the late 1800s.

Climate experts have said the new exhaust rule is a first step in Mr Biden’s drive to quickly shift American drivers from cars and trucks powered by internal combustion engines of the past century to electric vehicles. zero emission.

The new Biden rule “essentially just recoups the emissions cuts we lost during Trump’s pullback,” said Jeff Alson, former senior engineer and EPA policy adviser who worked on emissions standards Obama automobiles. “This is good, but it will not bring us any closer to the level we need to achieve to reduce vehicle emissions enough to protect the planet. “

About $ 26 billion in tax incentives to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles remained in limbo on Capitol Hill, as part of a larger $ 2.2 trillion bill known as Build Back Better Act, which faces opposition from Mr. Manchin. Among the provisions of the bill are a tax credit of $ 7,500 for buyers of electric vehicles, as well as an additional incentive of $ 4,500 if the vehicles are assembled by unionized workers.

Mr Biden has set a target for electric vehicles to account for 50% of all new car sales by 2030 in order to reduce global warming emissions and slow climate change. But electric cars are on track to total just 4% of U.S. sales in 2021, an indication of the scale of the challenge Mr. Biden faces.

A significant milestone was taken last month, when Congress passed a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill that included $ 7.5 billion to build approximately 500,000 electric charging stations across the country, plus an additional $ 7.5 billion to help strengthen the supply chains needed to produce electric vehicles. This month, Mr Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to purchase only zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035.

But more is needed to meet Mr Biden’s goal, climate advocates say.

“The short-term rule that the president is announcing now does not live up to the challenge he himself named, that global warming is an existential threat,” said Dan Becker, director of Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity. . “What we really need is an aggressive rule as soon as possible to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles that consume and pollute and replace them with electric vehicles without tailpipes.”

EPA officials are therefore working on a future regulation for vehicles built in model year 2027 and beyond that would require automakers to increase sales of electric vehicles. They say they hope to release a project in 2022 and complete it before Mr. Biden’s term ends.

Since the tailpipe rules relate to the average mileage per gallon of all vehicles sold by an automaker, strict standards are designed to force automakers to sell more electric cars to offset sales of conventional pickup trucks. , sport utility vehicles and other declining models. mileage. The Ford F-150, for example, is the most popular vehicle in the country and only gets about 20 miles per gallon.

Some major automakers have made public commitments to invest in electric vehicles. GM has said it will go all-electric by 2035. Ford has announced $ 30 billion in electrification investments and said it intends to sell only electric vehicles in major markets like the United States, China and Europe by 2035 at the latest, and the world by 2040. Ford has built an electric version of the F-150; dealers will take orders from January.

At the same time, automakers have said they need government help to ensure consumers can buy and charge their cars.

“The EPA’s final rule for greenhouse gas emissions is even more aggressive than the one originally proposed, requiring a substantial increase in sales of electric vehicles, well above 4% of all sales. light vehicles today, ”John Bozella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a lobby group representing the world’s largest automakers. “Achieving the goals of this Final Rule will undoubtedly require the enactment of supportive government policies – including consumer incentives, substantial infrastructure growth, fleet requirements, and support for the manufacturing and development of the supply chain in the United States. “

Most Republicans, meanwhile, oppose new tailpipe regulations. “As people struggle to spend their last dollar on reliable transportation amid rising gasoline prices, this administration now has increased control over the vehicles we drive to work. , take our kids to school and live our lives, ”said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican ranking on the House and Energy and Commerce committee, when Mr Biden announced his draft plans for the new rule over the summer. “It’s also a radical push for electric vehicles that will make America more dependent on Chinese supply chains and hurt our global competitive advantage.”

Auto workers expressed concerns on the electric transition, which US automakers are increasingly embracing because producing an electric vehicle requires about a third less human labor than a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. Mr Biden sought to convince them with policies such as proposed tax credits that would reward buyers for purchasing electric vehicles made by the union.

Lisa Friedman contributed to this report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: EPA announces tougher auto pollution rules
EPA announces tougher auto pollution rules
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