EPA delays auto emissions, mileage rule rollout

The agency cited factors including the time needed to coordinate with the state of California, which has authority to set its own standards but has again agreed to harmonize its rules with the Obama administration standards.

California, automakers and the Obama administration also worked together on existing mileage and greenhouse gas standards for model years 2012-2016.

Here’s the EPA statement Tuesday evening on delay of the upcoming proposed rule for model years 2017-2025:

We are working to complete these historic fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution reduction standards which will save consumers money, help protect the air we breathe, and strengthen our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We have worked closely with all key stakeholders including the car companies, the state of California, and others as we move toward releasing the proposed rule. Given the historic nature of this joint rule between EPA and DOT, as well as the necessary coordination with California, it was recently determined that additional time was needed and we expect to issue a proposal for MY 2017-2025 vehicles by mid-November.

The delay comes shortly after EPA said it would not meet a separate late September deadline to unveil proposed greenhouse gas standards for power plants, but administration officials say they’re not backing away from either effort and chalk up the delays to the time needed to prepare the regulations.

The White House has held up its various car and truck vehicle rules as a cornerstone of its efforts to reduce oil use and cut emissions, and President Obama personally announced the planned 2017-2025 standards in late July.

EPA and the Transportation Department estimate that the standards will cut greenhouse gases by roughly 2 billion metric tons and save roughly 4 billion barrels of oil over the life of the 2017-2025 vehicles. The agencies have said they plan to finalize the rules by late July of 2012.