The EPA Has Woken Up

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it would be introducing the toughest emissions standards yet

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It’s getting hard to remember now but there was a time, back in the Obama administration, when the U.S. had some of the toughest emissions standards in the world, before the Trump administration’s attempt to undo them. It seems that the EPA is going back to tough.

Cars in the 2023 model year and later would be affected by the new rules, according to Reuters, which also says that the rules “will be challenging for automakers to meet,” which, please, automakers make billions of dollars every year, I think they’ll figure it out.

“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.


This is all very exciting and long overdue, though Reuters also makes clear the mountain to climb.

EPA estimates the final rule will result in 17% of new U.S. vehicles by 2026 as EVs or plug-in hybrids.


Seventeen percent by 2026! That is, to be clear, fairly pathetic, but the Biden administration’s goal is only 50 percent by 2030, with hybrids counting toward that number, also fairly bad, given that we are trying to save the world.

Anyway, according to CNN, the rules announced Monday do not cover 2027 and later, as the EPA works on different rules for then, though those also probably depend on who wins the presidency in 2024, and whether that person believes that climate change is real or not. It’s a great system.