Wednesday, May 10, 2023

New Vehicle Standards Will Produce Enormous Benefits for Consumers and the Climate

Updated pollution standards for cars and trucks will cut fuel costs and avoid up to a trillion dollars’ worth of climate-related damages

One April 13, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new vehicle standards that will significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other criteria pollutants from the transportation sector. EPA’s multipollutant standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles sold in Model Years 2027 through 2032 will both reduce pollution and save consumers money—generating substantial societal benefits in the process.

Meredith Hankins, Senior Attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law, issued the following statement: “EPA has a long history of using ambitious emission standards to protect public health, and today’s proposal adds to that history. The proposed standards for passenger vehicles are estimated to result in up to $1 trillion dollars in climate benefits, $280 billion in health benefits from reducing other pollution, and up to $770 billion in avoided fuel costs for consumers. This proposal, and the companion proposal for heavy-duty vehicles, recognize automotive manufacturers’ own commitments to electrify their fleets and build on Congressional incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. EPA’s proposals represent an achievable path toward increasing the market-share of zero-emission vehicles.”

Relatedly, the Institute for Policy Integrity filed an Amicus Brief Defending NHTSA Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards on April 4, 2023.  They noted that in May 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rule to increase its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2024–2026. A group of fuel and petrochemical manufacturers and states challenged the standards in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing primarily that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act bars NHTSA from including electric vehicles in the analytical baseline for the new standards. Their amicus brief explains that longstanding administrative guidance and case law direct agencies to develop baselines that reflect their best assessment of the real world absent any new agency action. In the context of this rulemaking, that guidance and case law required NHTSA to project how many and what kinds of vehicles—including electric (and plug-in hybrid electric) vehicles—would be built and sold if it did not issue new CAFE standards, which is what NHTSA did here. Their amicus brief also explains that NHTSA has consistently prepared baselines for prior CAFE standards in this manner.

The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to improving the quality of government decisionmaking. The institute produces original scholarly research in the fields of economics, law, and regulatory policy; and advocates for reform before courts, legislatures, and executive agencies.
Press Release dated April 13, 2023
Also see
Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles
A Proposed Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency on 05/05/2023
in the Federal Register

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