The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), working hand in hand with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), developed a program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving fuel economy for 2017-2025 model year passenger vehicles. This program arose out of an agreement between the Obama Administration, auto companies and the state of California on setting vehicle greenhouse gas limits. According to the EPA, “(o)ver the lifetime of the model year 2017-2025 standards, this program is projected to save approximately 4 billion barrels of oil and 2 billion metric tons of (greenhouse gas) emissions, with net benefits up to $451 billion.” http://www.epa.gov/oms/climate/regs-light-duty.htm
. The final rulemaking on this program was issued on August 28, 2012.
Legal challenges to this program were to be filed by December 14, 2012. Not surprisingly, a few petroleum, manufacturing and other groups filed lawsuits over this new program. In keeping with the industry agreement with the Obama Administration, the auto companies did not file legal challenges to the new standards. Several states, including New York and California, filed motions to intervene on the EPA’s behalf in some of this litigation. It is not clear at this time what aspects of the rule will be challenged, as the Federal Court of Appeals recently declined to reconsider an earlier ruling upholding EPA’s determination that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles endanger human health and/or the environment.