Commerce Committee Probes Vehicle Standards Review

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By Andrew Childers

April 11 — Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are seeking details about an upcoming review of the Obama administration's combined fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2022 through 2025 passenger vehicles.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, asked the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an April 11 letter how the two agencies intend to undertake the mid-term review of the vehicle standards, expected to begin this summer.

“The mid-term evaluation is an important regulatory assessment, and the results may change the course of the program and have significant economic impacts, especially for consumers,” the three congressmen said in the letter.

The EPA and NHTSA's joint rule (RIN 2060–AQ54; RIN 2127–AK79) would require automakers to achieve an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 if all of the required greenhouse gas emissions reductions are met through improved fuel economy. As part of that rule, the two agencies said they would undertake a mid-term review to determine whether the mandates would need to be adjusted.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in 2014 praised automakers for making the investments necessary to achieve the 2025 requirements, but she also pledged to undertake the mid-term review .

Upton, Whitfield and Burgess's letter seeks additional details on how the review will occur, including when the EPA and NHTSA will publish their draft technical assessment report, the first step in the review process, which is expected this summer. The congressmen asked the two agencies about public comment on the draft document and how they intend to respond to public input. The letter also asks about the role the California Air Resources Board will play in the review.

The letter asks the EPA and NHTSA to respond by April 25.

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