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Biden administration to raise Trump-era fuel standards, plan annual mileage increases

·2 min read

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will take steps toward cutting greenhouse gas pollution by overturning emissions regulations introduced in the Trump White House.

The new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation aligns with strict standards set by California in 2019 that mandates a 3.7% annual mileage increase for some cars and light trucks through the 2026 model year, according to sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. In comparison, the Trump-era rule reduced the standard to 1.5% from 5% during the Obama administration.

A tight rein on fuel economy is part of President Joe Biden's goal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Last year, the U.S. passenger car fleet’s overall mileage declined for the first time in 5 years, according to an EPA report.

The 3.7% mileage standard will apply to 2023 and 2024 model year vehicles with plans to raise the requirement back to 5% for 2025. The percentage would then increase annually. The EPA will also push for electric vehicles to comprise 40% of new car sales by that year.

The full plan is expected to be released as early as next week.

In addition to reducing the 5% annual fuel economy standard set by the Obama administration, former President Donald Trump also repealed California's legal authority to set its own mileage standards. In 2019, automakers Ford, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo reached a deal with the state to raise standards by 3.7% per year.

The Biden administration is moving to restore California's authority.

According to the latest data available from the EPA, only three automakers — Tesla, Honda and Subaru — complied with standards in 2019. More than three-quarters of new vehicle sales this year were less fuel efficient trucks, vans and SUVs. Cars with greater fuel efficiency made up less than a quarter of sales.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Reach Chelsey Cox on Twitter @therealco.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden administration plans annual increase fuel economy standards

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