EPA Launches Public Comment Period for Fuel Economy Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a 45-day period to collect public comments about currently mandated fuel economy averages due by 2025.

EPA and carmakers agreed in 2012 to require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and light trucks that would deliver real-world averages of about 31 mpg by 2021 and 36 mpg by 2025.

Real-world average fuel economy for new cars in the U.S. was about 26 mpg last year, according to the agency.

The 2012 agreement required a midterm review of the schedule and goals no later than April 2018. Under the Obama administration, EPA concluded in early January that the original schedule through 2025 was still feasible at reasonable cost and could be achieved without extensive electrification.

But the Trump administration promptly ordered a review of that ruling. The public review period is widely regarded as prelude to freezing fuel economy standards at the 2021 level.

Even that ceiling could be lowered. EPA also is asking for public comment on whether the 2021 target remains “appropriate.”