The White House is backing off its controversial plan to freeze tailpipe-emissions targets for new vehicles through 2025, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The administration is now considering requiring a 1.5% annual increase in fleetwide fuel efficiency, using an industry measure that takes into account both gas mileage and emissions reductions, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
The Journal pointed out the new number is closer to the Obama-era rules calling for 5% gains — yet still gives automakers significant relief and would allow cars to emit more pollution.
The rule’s not fixed in stone.
The new final number for annual increases could change, as the rules remain under review, the Journal reported.
In addition, the administration’s number is expected to be challenged in court by California and other states, which favor tougher regulations.
President Donald Trump has been trying for years to soften a set of stringent targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions first agreed to in 2012 by the Obama administration, California and much of the automobile industry, the Journal noted.
The move to 1.5% — expected to be announced by year’s end — comes after intense industry lobbying, which opposed the Trump administration’s original plan to freeze targets at 2019 levels, around 37 miles per gallon.
“The Trump Administration is focusing on finalizing [its] rule which will deliver one national standard to the American auto market,” Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Michael Abboud told the Journal, without elaboration.
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