- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2017

Just days before President Obama leaves office, his Environmental Protection Agency on Friday finalized fuel economy standards that call on cars and light trucks to get an average of 36 miles per gallon by 2025.

The standards have come under fire from conservatives and some auto industry leaders who say they’re unrealistic, but the EPA argues that current technology will allow the threshold to be met.

“My decision today rests on the technical record created by over eight years of research, hundreds of published reports including an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences, hundreds of stakeholder meetings, and multiple opportunities for the public and the industry to provide input,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “At every step in the process the analysis has shown that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks remain affordable and effective through 2025, and will save American drivers billions of dollars at the pump while protecting our health and the environment.”

The rules apply to the “fleet-wide average” of cars and light trucks, meaning not every single vehicle must hit the 36 miles-per-gallon target. Instead, the average of all vehicles must hit the mark, meaning automakers can roll out some cars and light trucks that have a better fuel economy and some that get fewer miles to a gallon.

The current fleet-wide average for cars and light trucks, the EPA said, is about 26 miles per gallon.

Critics say the EPA is requiring standards that may be impossible to meet, at least without major cost increases to consumers.

“The fuel economy mandates for 2022-2025 are outrageously unrealistic and will make it increasingly difficult for American families to afford new cars,” said Chris Warren, spokesman for the conservative American Energy Alliance. “Politics are clearly the motivating factor behind the Obama administration’s decision as they broke with their own timeline to ram this costly mandate through before January 20.”

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