The Environmental Protection Agency will overturn the Obama administration's tough new requirements to boost fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse gases from passenger cars.
The Trump administration was widely expected to announce that it would scale back the standards for model year 2022-2025 cars and trucks finalized under President Barack Obama. On Monday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency will revise the rules.
Pruitt did not offer details about the scope of the revision. The so-called corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards are currently set to jump to about 50 miles per gallon by 2025, presenting an engineering challenge to the U.S. automotive industry.
"The Obama Administration's determination was wrong," Pruitt said in a statement. "Obama's EPA cut the Midterm Evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high."
The Obama administration finalized the CAFE standards for model year 2022-2025 cars and light trucks a week before Trump took office, well ahead of the April 2018 deadline to complete a review of tougher tailpipe rules.
The decision on Monday sets up a potential legal battle with the state of California, which has vowed to stick by its stringent targets to slash planet-warming carbon emissions from tailpipes.
While automakers have long sought relief from Obama's stringent rules, some industry watchers warn the move could create a complex and costly market for the likes of Ford and General Motors. It could split the U.S. car market in two. In that scenario, California and a dozen other states would keep the higher standards in place and the rest of the nation would follow the federal government's lead.