The current Administration in Washington has been busy trying to change everything that the previous Democratic Government had put in place. The latest decision has upset quite a few people because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will review the CAFE Standards and will pressure California to toe the party line rather than do their own thing.
What is interesting is that the EPA is meant to protect the environment (hence the name) yet in this instance it appears that they want to do the opposite. However we need to look in more detail to see what is really happening. The focus is on the 2022 – 2025 mpg/emissions efficiency ratings that were put in place by the Obama Administration. The EPA has suggested that they were too hard to meet and that the previous Government had got their numbers wrong. They want to reduce the targets or provide waivers to allow the manufacturers to miss the targets completely. The standard as set today means that light vehicles have to achieve 51 mpg on average by 2025.
The Big Three manufacturers welcomed the announcement because it possibly allows them to save costs on developing more fuel efficient vehicles and stated that they liked anything that helped American buyers fork out for new cars. On the flip side, by 2025 the standards were expected to save 540 million metric tons of pollution and reduce fuel consumption by 1.2 billion barrels. That clearly would mean less revenue for the oil companies – all mates of the President!
The really interesting thing is that the current standards are based on a specific mix of light and heavy vehicles with a skew on passenger cars, however, with Ford and General Motors moving away from the lighter cars to heavier SUVs, the EPA standard was likely to shift anyway and some experts suggest that the actual target would be heading south below 50 mpg long before 2025.
We are about to see a big battle between the EPA and the Administration on one side and environmentalists, city councils, California and many others on the opposite side. What is funny is that the EPA will go head-to-head with the very people that it is supposed to be supporting! It is also sad that the current US Government heads of departments are more interested in filling the coffers of their mates rather than managing the country in a balanced way.
It is also likely that if the EPA pushes California, it will get even more messy. California’s right to seek a waiver from the EPA and do their own thing (in a positive way) is written into the Clean Air Act. That means that the Administration has to either refuse the waiver or rewrite the Act and which ever way, it is expected that California will sue.
The busiest people in the US today are the lawyers with all the litigation surrounding Washington!