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2017-01-13 23:32:14
E.P.A. Affirms Fuel-Economy Goals, Frustrating Automakers

DETROIT — Federal regulators on Friday affirmed long-term fuel-economy goals central to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce harmful emissions from cars and trucks sold in the United States.

The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency was not unexpected. But the move frustrated some automakers that had asked for more time to contest the government’s target for fuel economy in 2025, and it will most likely make it more difficult for a Trump administration to dial it back.

In a statement, the departing administrator of the E.P.A. said the industry had proven it could consistently improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases since the current rules were adopted five years ago.

“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,” said Gina McCarthy, the E.P.A. administrator.

Government officials had been conducting a midterm review of the standards, negotiated with automakers in 2012, since last summer.

Automakers have argued that the current goals — which the E.P.A. said translate to an average fuel-economy sticker of 36 miles per gallon — were too stringent given the market shift away from passenger cars toward trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The industry group Global Automakers, which includes a dozen foreign car companies, said the E.P.A. rushed its decision to close the midterm review.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has still failed to state a compelling reason for rushing its final determination,” said John Bozzella, the group’s director and chief executive.

Ms. McCarthy said the industry had already been adopting fuel-saving technology at a rate that could achieve the current goals.

But automakers are expected to ask the incoming Trump administration to review the decision. “It merits a serious look,” Mr. Bozzella said.

At the same time, environmental activists hailed the E.P.A.’s action. One Washington advocacy group, Safe Climate Campaign, estimated that the government’s fuel rules could produce significant savings for consumers on the cost of gasoline.

“Automakers’ efforts to weaken the E.P.A. standard, to which they agreed, will deny Americans the benefits of higher-tech cars,” said Daniel Becker, the director of Safe Climate Campaign.