The last month witnessed an extraordinary level of regulatory activity by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. These rules will have a significant impact on public health, manufacturing, product prices and consumer choices.
On July 29, the Obama administration announced that it had reached agreement with 13 auto manufacturers to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to double fuel economy standards for cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025 and for pickup trucks to 35.5 mpg. To meet these demanding goals, manufacturers will not be able to rely on incremental improvements in existing technologies but will have to develop disruptive technologies, especially batteries that will allow the fleet to transition to electric-powered vehicles. The agreement reflects manufacturers’ understanding that major changes in their products are inevitable due to projected increases in fuel costs, and that future growth opportunities are located in developing countries that demand smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.