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GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars

Environmental groups back a rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
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A general view of traffic on a U.S. Interstate highway in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
A general view of traffic on a U.S. Interstate highway in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Republican senators are proposing legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing fuel emissions standards that are projected to save consumers thousands of dollars and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA in April proposed a federal rule limiting emissions by cars and trucks that would be implemented in the car model year 2027 and later. At the time of the announcement, the agency said it projected that once in place, the new standards would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 10 billion tons through 2055. The agency also said the average consumer would save $12,000 over the lifetime of a vehicle because of the use of technology that reduces fuel and maintenance costs.

At an event in Washington in April announcing the standards, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the new rules were among many incentives spurring auto manufacturers to produce electric vehicles that produce fewer harmful emissions.

The regulations have been entered into the Federal Register, where they are open to public review before final implementation.

On Thursday, Republican senators told Fox News that they planned to introduce the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act, which would prevent the EPA from implementing the rule. The bill is led by Sens. Mike Crapo (ID) and Pete Ricketts (NE) and co-sponsored by 23 Republicans and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

“The Biden EPA’s rule change would hurt everyday Americans while simultaneously helping China,” Crapo told Fox. “Consequences of rules and regulations such as these restrict consumer choice and raise costs for the average American family.”

A similar bill to limit the EPA’s actions, also named the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023, was introduced in the House in July by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and 34 co-sponsors, all Republicans. The bill has been placed on the congressional calendar but has not yet been subject to a vote.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute, trade groups that lobby on behalf of the oil and gas industries, have also expressed their opposition to the rule. For many years, the American Petroleum Institute has worked to oppose legislation that would address climate change.

Environmental groups support the proposed regulation and have said it is a critical step in reducing carbon emissions, the leading contributor to climate change.

“EPA has launched us on a critically important journey to a clean transportation future,” Fred Krupp, president of the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund, said in an April statement. Krupp said the rules would lead to job creation and consumer savings while also making the air cleaner.

That same month, Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, described the rules as a “key piece of the puzzle” to curb America’s “single largest source of carbon pollution.”

The Republican bill to block the EPA’s changes is unlikely to secure passage in the Senate, where Democrats have a majority. The proposed rules have the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“The EPA’s Clean Air Act Rule would prevent premature deaths, reduce the number of lost workdays, and decrease our country’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 600 million metric tons,” Schumer said in a May 12 statement. “Today’s announcement from EPA puts us on a better path and I commend the president, administrator, and all their staff for this new rule.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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