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Biden admin could set emission limits so high gas cars can not meet them

A pipe attached to the exhaust pipe of a sports car performs an emission test.

The Department of the Environment will issue revised standards for fuel economy by the end of July, said new EPA administrator Michael Regan, rewriting the Trump-era limits that dictate emission limits for cars and light trucks through the 2026 model year. will be to mitigate certain climate impacts.

The new standards for fuel efficiency will have to be significantly stricter than those issued by the Trump-era EPA, which only finalized its rules in March 2020 after a 1

.5-year process. These limits require 1.5 percent annual increases in efficiency through 2026 rather than the 5 percent target under Obama-era rules. Fuel efficiency standards in the United States are monitored by both the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency of the Department of Transportation.

“We are looking strongly at what science encourages us to do. We look at where technologies are, ”Regan said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We marry with our regulatory policies and what we have the statutory authority to do with where science leads us and where the markets and technology are.”

While Regan did not mention any specific figures, he did not rule out emission limits that would force the phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles. To achieve this, the number would probably be in the range of 60-70 miles per. Gallon together according to the EPA method, which is what appears on new cars’ Monroney stickers. Today’s gas-powered cars are struggling to crack 40 mpg combined, and hybrids are having trouble getting more than 60 mpg combined. On the other hand, the Porsche Taycan gets the least efficient electric vehicle equivalent to 69 mpg.

Sell ​​some credits

Current limits require the country’s fleet-wide average to be 40.4 mpg by 2026, well below the Obama-era target of 54.5 mpg. These figures are regulatory – they do not reflect what consumers see in the real world or what appears on the window label. To hit their mark, automakers can sell cars and trucks that pollute significantly more or less than average. Companies that underperform the average can buy credits from companies with a profit. Tesla, for example, has sold credits to the then Fiat Chrysler and GM. (Certain vehicles, including many heavy trucks such as the Ford F-250, are exempt from fuel economy standards).

The weakening of standards under Trump was partly the result of lobbying by carmakers who wrote a letter to Trump’s transition team just days after the election calling on the EPA and NHTSA to coordinate emissions limits. The companies claimed that low gas prices and weak demand for electric cars made it almost impossible to achieve the Obama goals. The Trump administration undertook to review the rules and make a skewed argument in favor of weakening emission limits. The administration said the lower standards would ultimately save lives by letting automakers build cheaper vehicles that would allow consumers to buy new models faster, which would likely better protect them in a crash.

Today, however, the picture has changed significantly. Some countries and US states have announced the phasing out of fossil vehicles in 2035 or 2040 depending on the jurisdiction. Automakers are announcing or introducing dozens of new electric models, and EV sales are growing faster than the overall market.

Regan seems to be leaning heavily into the idea that electric cars will give the United States a way out of its carbon-intensive transportation sector. “It is a false opportunity to choose between economic development and prosperity and environmental protection,” he said.

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