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Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg January 21, 2021

Biden puts quest for new fuel economy rules in motion

President Joe Biden's multifaceted executive order on climate, health and environment — signed on his first day — told agency heads to get going on crafting new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. 

The order opens the door to changes in two regulations finalized under former President Donald Trump. The Trump era rules called for 1.5% yearly improvements in efficiency, down from 5% each year under rules set during the Obama administration. Trump's policy denied California's authority to set higher targets, setting off a court battle.

The agencies have until April 2021 to offer proposed rules that would suspend, revise or rescind the Trump rule on California's authority. They have until July 2021 to do the same for fuel efficiency standards.

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 28% of the U.S. total. Within that, cars and light trucks are the biggest polluter, releasing about 59% of the sector's greenhouse gases.



Biden's order called for establishing "ambitious, job-creating" standards, and said the new rules must reflect the views of states, labor unions and the auto industry.

The regulatory process is not fast, and Biden has taken the first step. We rate this promise In the Works.


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