CO2 emissions control should bring about much higher Fuel Economy Standards then the current 35 mpgUS by 2020 non-sense. [xfloat=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/615/2010_Honda_Insight_Headline_pic.jpg[/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Jan. 26, 2009 2010 Honda Insight-II – At 41 mpgUS combined, it easily meets the 2016 CARB mandate of 40 mpgUS today. The new EPA chief, Lisa Jackson, issued a memo to all EPA employees last Friday first thanking President Obama for her appointment and then to laying out the plan that will change the face of the agency for the benefit of the environment. The environmental agenda set by President Obama and to be carried out by Mrs. Jackson and the EPA includes three core values. Science must be the backbone for EPA programs -- When the EPA addresses scientific issues, it should rely on the expert judgment of the Agency’s career scientists and independent advisors whose judgments will not be suppressed, misrepresented or distorted by political agendas. The laws that the EPA is expected to implement still leave room for policy judgments -- Policy decisions should not be disguised as scientific findings or compromise the integrity of EPA’s experts in order to advance a particular outcome. EPA must follow the rule of law -- The EPA needs to exercise policy in good faith in keeping with the directives of Congress and the courts. When a law has been written explicitly, the EPA cannot misinterpret or ignore the language Congress has used. Also, the EPA cannot turn a blind eye to a court’s decision or procrastinate in complying. During the election campaign, Mr. Obama pledged to make the threat of climate change a high priority within his administration. With the principles laid out above and keeping to that promise, President Obama is expected today to allow California and thirteen other states the ability to impose their own, automobile CO2 limiting regulations in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The memorandum appears not to directly force the EPA to allow California and 13 other states to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, but rather to reconsider the 2007 decision by the EPA's then-administrator, Stephen Johnson, to block California from implementing its own greenhouse gas emissions limits. Given the previous EPA administrations lack of compliance even after a Federal Court ruled for them to do so, the new EPA Administrator intends to fix this oversight. Fortunately or not, the EPA may not have a final ruling for several months. Expected Requirements CARB Fuel Economy Equivalents for light duty vehicle from 2009 to 2016 Under the new California-mandated CO2 emissions regulations, a much more stringent fuel economy standard will be required. As currently designed, this standard will require passenger light cars and trucks (< 3,750 pounds loaded vehicle weight) to achieve 40 mpgUS and heavy light trucks (3,751 pounds loaded vehicle weight to < 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight) to achieve 25 mpgUS by 2016. This is in sharp contrast to the current 2007 Energy Bill’s 35 mpgUS (~ 27 mpgUS actual) set to occur by 2020. There could be unintended consequences within the CO2 emissions regulations themselves with regards to loaded vehicle weight and gross vehicle weight metrics. The current Honda Civic Hybrid for example has a loaded Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 3,780 pounds which possibly excludes it from the strict 40 mpg rating. This can be seen in any number of compacts and the manufacturers will surely increase weight and load carrying capacity to at least 3,751 pounds to achieve a 25 mpgUS rating which many do today vs. the 40 mpgUS rating some may never reach. Another problem with the CARB mandates is that after 2016, the CA CO2 emissions reduction requirements remain stagnant. These rules will surely be tightened up before being enacted which should ensure manufacturer compliance without the ability to skirt the rules thanks to loopholes like the current Energy Bills “Foot print” clause or CARB's GVWR’s given what our country so desperately needs. Similarly, President Obama is expected to direct the Department of Transportation to complete rulemaking for higher national fuel efficiency standards. In total, these mandates and requests should improve the fuel economy of our nation’s vehicle fleet much sooner which in turn will reduce our dependence on foreign oil supplies.