Ann Mesnikoff

Resetting Clean Car Standards to Act On Climate

EPA must set the strongest possible federal clean car standards because reducing pollution from America’s cars and light trucks is critical to protecting the climate.

Today I had the opportunity to testify on EPA’s proposal to reset climate pollution standards for Model Year 2023-26 cars and light trucks. ELPC strongly supported the greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards issued in 2012, which set standards that steadily decreased emissions from new cars and trucks through 2025, and opposed the prior administration’s deeply flawed rollback of those standards.

It is critical to remember that the necessity for this hearing is because the auto industry, which had agreed to the 2012 program, including signing letters of commitment, lost no time in pushing the Trump administration to undermine those standards. As a result, we have lost years of emissions reductions as the urgency for acting mounts daily.

The transportation sector is the leading source of US climate pollution. Reducing pollution from America’s cars and light trucks is critical to protecting the climate and attaining President Biden’s goals and our commitments in rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

Read Full Testimony

The climate crisis is playing out across the country and the world.

The 6th IPCC report makes clear both the human causes of climate change and its devastating impacts. ELPC is specifically concerned about the threat climate change poses to the Midwest and the Great Lakes. The region is home to 61 million people and to the auto industry; it is also a significant engine for agriculture. Temperatures in the Midwest are rising. Warmer temperatures impact public health with increased frequency of deadly heat waves and worsening air quality.

EPA must issue strong, technology-forcing standards for cars and light trucks to reduce US climate pollution.

The climate crisis should leave no doubt that EPA must adopt Alternative 2 with at least the 10 g/mi greater stringency for Model Year 2026. EPA acknowledges that the automakers were already planning for strong standards. They should not be rewarded with anything weaker than Alternative 2.

EPA must issue stronger standards to strengthen clean car innovation and manufacturing.

A strong auto manufacturing base is critical to the economies and well-being of states where ELPC works to protect public health and the environment–from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, to the Dakotas. In fact, American manufacturers are plugged into a world economy. A final rule that curtails credits, multipliers and other loopholes will drive innovation, deployment of fuel-saving technologies, and help sustain clean car-related manufacturing and jobs across the Midwest and beyond.


ELPC welcomes EPA action to reset standards starting in MY 2023. The climate cannot afford delay. EPA must strengthen and adopt Alternative 2 with at least the additional reduction of 10 g/mi in MY 26 while closing loopholes and limiting the ability of automakers to game the enormous menu of credits and multipliers in the proposal.

EPA must act swiftly on setting standards for MY2027 and beyond that will slash climate pollution and ensure the U.S. can achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales no later than 2035, consistent with the Biden administration’s science-based goal of net-zero GHG emissions economy-wide by 2050.

Ann Mesnikoff,

Federal Legislative Director

Ann Mesnikoff is the federal legislative director at ELPC, working in Washington, D.C., with the Midwest Congressional Delegation and national coalitions to advance supportive clean energy, clean water and clean air, and transportation reform policies.

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