US regulator looks to zero-emissions future

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalising a new stringent federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

The standards for vehicles from 2023 to 2026 leverage advances in clean car technology and roll back President Trump’s holding legislation to present the ambitious vehicle emissions standards yet in the US. Based on science and grounded in an assessment of current and future technologies the standards will deliver greater net benefits and emissions reductions than those originally proposed. By 2050 the programme has been estimated to be able to result in avoiding more than three billion tons of GHG emissions which is equivalent to more than half the total US CO2 emissions in 2019.

Furthermore, the benefits are estimated to exceed the costs by as much as $190bn. Benefits include reduced impacts of climate change, improved public health from lower pollution, and cost savings for vehicle owners through improved fuel efficiency. Drivers will save between $210bn and $420bn by 2050 on fuel costs. On average over the lifetime of an individual 2026 registered vehicle, the EPA estimates that the fuel savings will exceed the initial increase in vehicle costs by more than $1,000 for consumers.

EPA is also planning to initiate a separate rulemaking to establish multi-pollutant emission standards under the Clean Air Act for 2027 and later that will speed the transition of the light-duty vehicle fleet toward a zero-emissions future consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order, Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan commented: “At EPA, our priority is to protect public health, especially in overburdened communities, while responding to the President’s ambitious climate agenda. Today we take a giant step forward in delivering on those goals, while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future.”

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