WASHINGTON -- To promote clean air and cut transportation greenhouse gas emissions, the Biden administration is expected to announce plans Thursday to strengthen federal fuel economy and emissions standards for vehicles.
Early reports say that the proposed rule will start with an annual 3.7 percent increase in fuel economy, mirroring the agreement made between California and five automakers in 2020. By model year 2025, the standards will require 5 percent annual improvements, similar to those agreed to by automakers in 2012. Automakers have argued for weaker standards over the past 5 years, despite the impacts of cars on our health and environment.
Vehicle tailpipes are a major source of health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. After seven years of decline, air pollution started rising in 2016. By 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality.
U.S. PIRG and Environment America called on Biden to strengthen fuel economy and emission standards in the report "First Things to Fix," which outlined 20 popular environmental protections the president should enact during his first days in office.
Experts from Environment America and U.S. PIRG issued the following statements:
“This proposal is headed in a better direction, but the Biden administration can and should be more ambitious,” said Environment America Destination: Zero Carbon Campaign Director Morgan Folger. “Over 5 years ago, the Obama-Biden administration took the strongest federal action to reduce global warming pollution in history, only to be stalled out by the automakers reneging on their promise. As pollution increased over the past half-decade, the wildfire season has lengthened and grown more intense, coastal communities have been torn apart by destructive hurricanes fueled by warmer oceans, and inland communities have seen more than their fair share of 100-year floods. We can’t turn back the clock 5 years, so we have to go even faster to zero out pollution from our cars and trucks and solve this climate crisis.”
“Our country’s car-centric transportation system is wreaking havoc on our health and the climate,” said U.S. PIRG Transportation Advocate John Stout. “Not only do our carbon-spewing cars account for the majority of America’s climate-harming emissions, but the pollution they emit also cuts short an estimated 58,000 American lives each year. Stronger fuel efficiency standards are better for our environment, public health and for consumers, as they can save people thousands of dollars every year. While we applaud this effort by the Biden administration, we believe it is only the first mile marker on the road to a zero-emission transportation network fit for the 21st century.”