A slew of environmental regulators released a report Monday on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for light duty cars and trucks, potentially leading the government to foist stricter emission rules on car companies over the coming decades.
The report, titled Technical Assessment Report (TAR), was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the California Air Resource Board (CARB) and, according to a press statement from the EPA, shows that, “manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market at a rapid pace, and that they will be able to meet the MY 2022-2025 standards established in the 2012 rulemaking with a wide range of cost-effective technologies.”
The fact that the new technologies are advancing at such a rapid pace, the statement reads, indicates the government could have some room to make the rules directing emission standards more stringent.
“Today’s draft report shows that automakers are developing far more technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at similar or lower costs, than we thought possible just a few years ago. And they are adopting these fuel-saving technologies into their fleets even faster than anticipated,” Janet McCabe, an assistant administrators for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in a press statement Monday.
She added: “This is simply great news for consumers, manufacturers, workers and the climate.”
The report’s findings are part of the Obama administration’s midterm evaluation of the fuel emission standards, which essentially allowed the automakers some say on the regulator’s findings. The administration issued Midterm Evaluations, which is a review process allowing automakers an explanation when regulators determine the effectiveness of fuel emission standards.
While the EPA sounded a positive note about the report, the energy industry is reacting with more pessimism.
Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the Institute Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation the regulators’ midterm evaluation report’s findings are not surprising. The Obama administration is purposely attempting to hurt the automotive industry, he said.
“The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle on the market to date,” Simmons said. “Ford has spent more than $1 billion to get the truck into compliance, yet it is still not in full compliance. So it’s ridiculous to believe that car companies not named Ford will be able to meet new, more stringent standards.”
Ford’s F-150 Series accounts for 31 percent of the company’s North American sales and half of its profit in the region, compounding the problem, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson told Bloomberg in June.
The regulators are likely preparing for a change in emission standards, Simmons explained, because the report would not have prefaced its findings by noting that new technologies have allowed automakers to make more fuel efficient vehicles were it not prepared to make the rules more stringent.
The EPA initiated a set of fuel emission standards in 2015 on heavy duty trucks, which, based on the regulator’s own analysis, did not appreciably reduce carbon dioxide levels.
The EPA says limiting carbon dioxide from heavy trucks will reduce emissions by more than 1 billion metric tons by 2050. Regulating heavy-duty trucks are part of the government’s goal of ratcheting down U.S. CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050.
The EPA’s own analysis found that by 2100 “the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026 to 0.0065°C, and global mean sea level rise is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.023 to 0.057 cm.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has become the Obama administration’s paragon of environmental wisdom, predicts temperature rises of between 1.8 and 4.8 degrees Celsius and expects sea levels to rise 23 to 56 centimeters from 1990 to 2100.
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