By MATTHEW DALY
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026 — 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.
“We are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet – and save families money at the same time,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
Regan called the rule “a giant step forward” in delivering on President Joe Biden’s climate agenda “while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future.″
The move comes a day after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin delivered a potentially fatal blow to Biden’s $2 trillion social and environmental policy bill, jeopardizing Democrats’ agenda and infuriating the White House. The West Virginia senator said he could not support the sweeping bill, which includes a host of climate proposals, saying it was too expensive and could spark inflation and expand the growing federal debt.
The mileage rules set to be announced Monday are the most ambitious tailpipe pollution standards ever set for passenger cars and light trucks. The standards raise mileage goals set by the Trump administration that would achieve only 32 miles per gallon in 2026. Biden had set a goal of 38 miles per gallon in August.
The standards also will help expand the market share of zero emissions vehicles, the administration said, with a goal of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles reaching 17% of new vehicles sold in 2026. EVs and plug-in hybrids are expected to have about 7% market share in 2023.
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