Attorney General Shapiro Takes Legal Action to Protect Fuel Efficiency Standards

September 11, 2017 | Topic: Rights

Five AGs Join Together to Challenge Trump Administration’s Illegal Delay of Rules to Reduce Emissions and Save Money for Consumers

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that he filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to protect the environment by enforcing a rule that promotes stricter federal fuel efficiency standards.

Shapiro joined the Attorneys General from New York, California, Vermont and Maryland and filed an action for the illegal delay of a rule that encourages automakers to produce vehicle fleets that meet or exceed federal fuel efficiency standards.

Under a rule put in place by the Obama Administration, penalties on automakers whose vehicle fleets do not meet minimum fuel efficiency standards were set to increase by $8.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon in July 2017. The rule was issued in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2015. In July, the Trump Administration announced it was delaying the rule indefinitely. The delay violates both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

“These commonsense fuel efficiency standards will lower vehicle emissions, address climate change, and save money for consumers,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “This isn’t the first action I’ve taken to hold the Trump Administration accountable to promote better fuel efficiency and I will continue to fight back whenever it ignores the rule of law in order to further its own agenda.”

Click here to read the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Leading environmental advocates, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity are filing a similar challenge to the Trump administration’s illegal delay.

The penalties provide increased incentives for auto manufacturers to achieve the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for upcoming model years. The standards – for model years 2016 through 2025 – would save approximately 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold. The Augural Standards (model years 2022 through 2025) alone would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 million tons a year in 2025, and by over 200 million tons a year in 2050, compared to indefinitely maintaining the 2021 standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has previously estimated that the Augural Standards would also lead to an annual reduction of 13,000 tons of NOx emissions and of 2,000 tons of particulate matter emissions nationwide by 2030. A consumer would save a net $1,650 with a model year 2025 vehicle that adheres to the Augural Standards, compared to one that complies with the model year 2021 standards. These impacts are described in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fact sheet.

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