EPA to ease emission standards; changes could spark legal battle in California

Posted at 2:49 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-02 18:49:03-04

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Environmental regulators announced Monday that they will ease emissions standards for cars and trucks, according to the Associated Press.

Current regulations from the EPA require vehicles by 2025 to get 36 miles per gallon in real-world driving. 

Regulators said the reason for the change is that the timeline put in place by the Obama administration wasn’t appropriate and set standards too high.

The announcement will affect vehicles for model years 2022 through 2025.

The changes could set up a legal battle with California, which has the power to set its own pollution and gas mileage standards.

Other states also follow rules set by California and together account for more than a third of the vehicles sold in the U.S. Currently state and federal standards are the same.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement Monday that the agency will work with California to finalize new standards.

The agency said Monday that regulations set under the Obama administration, "presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety, and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers."

Automakers praised the decision, saying current requirements would have cost them billions, raising vehicle prices.

"This was the right decision, and we support the Administration for pursuing a data-driven effort and a single national program as it works to finalize future standards," said Gloria Bergquist, vice president, communications and public affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a statement. "We appreciate that the Administration is working to find a way to both increase fuel economy standards and keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans."

Meanwhile, environmentalists warned the rollbacks will make U.S. cars more expensive to fill up, a growing concern in California.

"No one in America is eager to buy a car that gets worse gas mileage and spews more pollution from its tailpipe," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "Designing and building cleaner, more cost-efficient cars is what helped automakers bounce back from the depths of the recession and will be key to America's global competitiveness in the years ahead."