EPA to announce reversal on fuel economy standards next week

The Environmental Protection Agency will announce a change in automobile emissions standards next week, undoing a last minute effort by the Obama administration to lock in the rules through 2025. The NY Times reports:

The tailpipe pollution regulations were among Mr. Obama’s major initiatives to reduce global warming and were put forth jointly by the E.P.A. and the Transportation Department. They would have forced automakers to build passenger cars that achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, compared with about 36 miles per gallon today.

Those regulations are locked into place for vehicle model years through 2021, and just before Mr. Trump took office, the E.P.A. put forth a final rule intended to cement them for vehicles built from 2022 through 2025. However, the E.P.A. did not jointly release its plan to do so with the Transportation Department, leaving a legal loophole for the Trump administration to take advantage of…

After withdrawing the Obama administration’s requirement for model years 2022 through 2025, the Trump administration will have a year to put forth an alternative set of efficiency standards, people familiar with the matter said.

As I noted last month, a group of 18 automakers sent the Trump administration a letter asking for a reconsideration of fuel standards. The Obama administration had until 2018 to complete a midterm review of the progress made by automakers. They had hoped for some relief from the standards during that review. Instead, the administration rushed through the process and announced a final decision one week before Trump took office.

The Obama administration is also reportedly going to move to rescind a waiver given to California which allows the state to enforce even more stringent requirements. Unlike the emissions standards, that move will likely result in a lawsuit. The Attorney General for California recently set up an office in Washington, D.C. for the purpose of being able to fight the Trump administration in court.

The Trump administration could also announce plans to roll back former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan which targeted coal-fired power plants.