EPA Issues National Greenhouse Gas Standards on Autos. Despite legal uncertainty, EPA’s action sets in motion imminent regulation on broad sectors of the economy, apart from any legislation Congress may enact

April 2, 2010 newsletter (PDF)

On April 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration promulgated a final joint rule establishing corporate average fuel economy (“CAFE”) standards and greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions limits for new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the U.S. The joint rule is the product of a White House-brokered agreement announced last May, in which the major automakers, infused with federal bailout money, acquiesced to the imposition of new nationwide mileage standards. The joint rule is significant, as it could mean an estimated 40 percent improvement in fuel economy by virtue of fleet average requirements of 35.5 miles a gallon by 2016. Because GHG emissions will be “subject to regulation” after the effective date of the joint rule for light-duty cars and trucks, the joint rule will effectively trigger EPA to regulate GHG emissions from stationary sources. The potential impacts of such regulation on stationary sources are discussed below.