EPA will not extend review of fuel efficiency standards

EPA will not extend review of fuel efficiency standards

Federal regulators will not extend their deadline for comments on strict fuel efficiency standards, effectively allowing them to finalize the standards before President Obama leaves office next year. 

In a letter to manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected an industry request to continue reviewing a November determination from the EPA that reaffirmed the fuel standards. 

The November decision keeps in place the 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel economy target for vehicles in the 2025 model year. 

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The industry says that standard is too high, and manufacturers call the EPA’s projections — which say vehicles are likely to fail to meet the 2025 standard — too rosy. They have asked regulators to revise the goal Obama established in 2012. 

The EPA said in November it would not do so, a decision that kicked off a public comment period. If the agency had extended the comment period as automakers asked, it would have prevented Obama from locking in the fuel standards before he leaves office next month. 

Thursday’s decision on the comment period indicates regulators intend to do just that.

“The EPA continues to believe that the [decision] and the associated 30-day comment period remain appropriate and, therefore, the EPA is denying both the request for withdrawal and the request for an extension of the comment period,” Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe wrote in a letter to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers on Thursday. 

The EPA’s decision to move forward with the standards is not permanent, and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE could roll them back after he takes office, something the industry asked him to do after he was elected.