WASHINGTON -- The EPA is finalizing new vehicle emissions requirements through 2026 that reverse former President Donald Trump's rollback of car pollution cuts and will speed a U.S. shift to more electric vehicles.
"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.
In August, President Joe Biden's administration proposed undoing the Trump-era action easing requirements imposed during the presidency of Barack Obama. The new rule finalized Monday is tougher than EPA's August proposal or requirements issued by Obama.
If expressed in miles per gallon (mpg) requirements, the EPA rules would result in a fleetwide average of about 40 mpg in 2026, versus 38 mpg under the August proposal and 32 mpg under the Trump rules.
The Democratic administrations of Biden and Obama have pushed for stricter fuel efficiency standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. The new rules will result in 3.1 billion tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2050 and come after many states and environmental groups urged the administration to impose stricter rules.
Biden wants 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be EV or plug-in hybrid models.
In March 2020, Trump's Republican administration rolled back Obama's standards to require only 1.5 percent annual increases in efficiency through 2026. Obama had required 5 percent annual increases.
The new rules take effect in the 2023 model year and require a 28.3 percent reduction in vehicle emissions through 2026.
The rules will be challenging for automakers to meet, especially for the Detroit 3 automakers. General Motors , Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV are appearing at an event Monday with Regan announcing the rules.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the primary auto industry representative dealing wtih emissions regulations, said the industry will need help to reach the goals set by the new standards.
"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 four percent of all light-duty sales today," the Alliance said in a statement.
"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 U.S. manufacturing and supply chain development. Collaboration between industries across the economy and government will be essential to achieving our shared goals for a cleaner transportation future that benefits all communities and enhances U.S. economic competitiveness.”
GM plans to launch 30 EVs globally through 2025, with two-thirds slated for the U.S.
Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, told Automotive News in an interview Monday that the automaker had anticipated new standards such as the EPA rule.
“There's kind of an inevitability in terms of where we need to end up from an emissions and fuel economy point of view,” he said. “It’s something that we had anticipated and that's been driving our strategy and our planning. It's good to have that clarity.”
The Biden administration's EV plans suffered a setback Sunday when moderate U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he would not support a $1.75 trillion domestic investment bill that includes new EV tax credits that would favor the Detroit 3.
EPA estimates the vehicle emissions reduction benefits will exceed costs by up to $190 billion and drivers will save between $210 billion and $420 billion through 2050.
EPA estimates the final rule will result in 17 percent of new U.S. vehicles by 2026 as EVs or plug-in hybrids.