On July 18, 2016, NHTSA, EPA, and CARB took the first step in the mid-term evaluation of the National Program for GHG emissions and fuel economy standards for light duty cars and trucks by releasing a draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) for public comment. The release of the TAR delivers on a commitment that EPA made in 2012 as part of the rulemaking establishing a National Program for the 2017-2025 period. The draft TAR covers model years 2022-2025.
According to the agencies, the draft TAR shows that automotive manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market at a rapid pace, and that they will be able to meet the MY 2022-2025 standards established in the 2012 rulemaking with a wide range of cost-effective technologies. The agencies also state that the standards can be achieved by relying primarily on advanced gasoline vehicles. According to the report, manufacturers will be able to meet the stricter standards at similar or even a lower cost than was anticipated in the 2012 rulemaking, with substantial savings on fuel costs for consumers.
While the Draft TAR analysis focuses on the MY 2022-2025 standards, the report also shows that auto manufacturers over-complied with the standards for each of the first three years of the program, and in 2014 outperformed the standards by 1.4 miles per gallon. This occurred during a period during which the automotive industry has seen six consecutive years of sales increases and a new all-time sales record in 2015, reflecting positive consumer response to vehicles complying with the standards.
An Executive Summary of the draft TAR is available here.
After receiving public comment on the draft TAR, EPA will issue a Proposed Determination on whether the 2022-2025 standards are appropriate under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. The Proposed Determination will be available for public comment. If the Administrator’s proposal is that the standards should change (either more or less stringent), then this action will be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), jointly with NHTSA’s CAFE NPRM. Public input on the Proposed Determination, as well as new data and information available, will inform EPA’s Final Determination.
The Final Determination will be the Administrator’s final decision on whether or not the 2022-2025 standards are appropriate, in light of the record then before the Administrator. Under EPA’s regulations, the Final Determination is required no later than April 1, 2018. If the EPA determination is that the standards will not change, NHTSA will issue its CAFE final rule concurrently with the EPA Final Determination. If the EPA determination is that the standards will change, the agencies will issue a joint final rule, which could be by April 2018 or a later date. At the very latest, the agencies will complete the final rulemaking in sufficient time to promulgate final standards for MY 2022-2025 with at least 18 months lead time, but additional lead time may be provided.
Comments are due Sep. 26, 2016.
For a copy of the Federal Register notice inviting comments on the draft TAR, click here.