On April 2, 2018, the EPA announced the results of its updated Midterm Evaluation (MTE) determination related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025. The agency stated that the current standards are not appropriate, and that it will work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set a notice and comment rulemaking to set new standards.
The Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes the EPA to set national standards for vehicle tailpipe emissions. On the basis of a statutory waiver, California is the only state which can impose stricter standards for vehicle emissions than federal requirements.
In 2012, in the context of the agency’s rulemaking for the model year 2017-2025 light-duty vehicle GHG standards, EPA committed to engaging in an evaluation of the standards for model years 2022-2025 no later than April 1, 2018. The evaluation was focused on determining whether the standards should remain or should be made more, or less stringent.
On January 12, 2017, the then-current EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, signed the agency’s determination to maintain the GHG emissions standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles. With the change of administrations, the auto industry and others asked the EPA to review the latest information and reassess the appropriateness of the standards. EPA reopened the regulatory docket in August 2017 and held a public hearing on September 6, 2017 in order to assess whether the standards were appropriate. With the EPA’s April 2, 2018 announcement, the rulemaking process to change the standards will start anew.