Automakers back strict US vehicle emissions regulations in legal battle

WASHINGTON — Major US and foreign automakers on Wednesday supported the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new stricter vehicle emissions regulations in a lawsuit filed by some states and ethanol groups.

Texas and 15 other states have challenged the EPA’s vehicle emissions regulations that overturn a rollback of exhaust regulations enacted under former President Donald Trump.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents nearly all major automakers, said in a court filing the EPA rule “will challenge the industry” but provide automakers with “critically important flexibility.”

Automakers, the group added, want to ensure that “critical legal provisions supporting electric vehicle technology are enforced.”

The states are joined by a number of corn and soybean growers’ associations, the American Fuel And Petrochemical Manufacturers, and others. Corn Growers, a subsidiary of Valero Energy and other ethanol producers, said the new EPA rules that revise emissions requirements through 2026 “effectively mandate the production and sale of electric cars rather than cars powered by internal combustion engines.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a challenge along with Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. The state of Arizona has filed a separate legal appeal.

The automakers, including General Motors Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp, Hyundai Motor and Chrysler parent company Stellantis, said in court that the transition must be supported by regulatory stability. … (automotive manufacturers) may face stranded investment and planning uncertainty.”

The new rules, which come into effect in September and require a 28.3% reduction in vehicle emissions through 2026, are intended to accelerate a U.S. shift to more electric vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will announce its latest parallel revisions to the company’s average fuel economy rules through 2026 Friday, Reuters reported. Separately, NHTSA confirmed on Sunday that it has completed a dramatic jump in fines for automakers that fail to meet regulatory standards.