EPA Finalizes Fuel Efficiency Rules

Jan 14, 2017 06:10 AM EST | Jeroah Sabado

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy finalized President Barack Obama's firmness of purpose to institute fuel efficiency standards. The EPA's chief said that this should be intact through the 2015 model year, as it will be a bid to maintain the previous president's environmental legacy.

The agency issued its determination on Friday, reaffirming that its earlier finding exceeds the currently given consumer preferences, and that no major changes are necessary in greenhouse gas rules for cars and light trucks. The finding is completed just days before Obama left his chair, making it more difficult for the new administration and federal regulators to decide whether the 2025 goal was achievable.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy said in a statement that her decision to keep the standards intact is because of the agency's eight years of research and industry's ample opportunity for input. She described this as a legally binding decision to maintain the fuel efficiency standards, rests on a large-scale technical record.

Originally, the finding is expected to be finalized by the end of 2018. But the EPA's preliminary determination said that based on the evidence given by various car companies and the public, the agency sees no reason to alter or delay the standards.

EPA's announcement concludes the mid-term evaluation of the previous administration's auto efficiency standards, which gets harder every year through 2025. Many automakers argued that dropping prices at the pump will make buyers less interested in efficient vehicles, and so achieving the standards will be more difficult.

On Nov. 30, the EPA unexpectedly announced that it is proposing to adjust the 2025 standard to 51.4 miles per gallon. Right now, the EPA's standards requires the car companies to limit the carbon-dioxide their vehicles emit by enhancing their fleet wide fuel economy to an average of 50.8 miles per gallon by 2025.

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