The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is revising the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards under the Clean Air Act for light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) for 2023-2026 model years, as it aims to make the standards more stringent.
“At EPA, we follow the science, and we follow the law,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan during a news conference on December 20.
The revision will bring in stricter standards compared to the looser Trump-era standards, which at the time resulted in several lawsuits between California and the Trump administration.
In 2019, the Trump administration sued the state to block part of its greenhouse gas reduction program “and limit its ability to take international leadership in curbing planet warming emissions,” according to The New York Times.
Canada typically aligns closer to the U.S. standards to ensure there is a single North American fuel standard, but in 2019 it moved away from this after the federal government signed a cooperative agreement with California to advance clean transportation.
The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) previously said via CADA Newsline that different rules between the countries, provinces and states would mean that automakers would have to build vehicles for different jurisdictions, which is both difficult and costly. It could also impact vehicle choice and increase costs for Canadian consumers.
The announcement by the EPA shows the two countries appear more aligned than they were in 2019. Regan said the agency is setting “robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce pollution, protect people’s health, and save families money at the same time.”
He estimates that, through the year 2050, the program will save American drivers up to $420 billion on fuel costs, while also avoiding more than 3 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution—equal to more than half the U.S. total in carbon emission in the year 2019, according to Regan.
The program is also expected to provide Americans with as much as $190 billion in net benefits from reduced climate impact and improved public health.