Top automakers say they support tougher US vehicle emissions rules in legal battle

WASHINGTON — Major U.S. and foreign automakers backed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new, more powerful vehicle on Wednesday emission regulations in a lawsuit filed by some states and ethanol groups.

Texas and 15 other states have challenged the EPA’s vehicle emissions rules that reverse a rollback of the 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 provides 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 Co. and Chrysler parent company Stellantis, said in court that the “transition must be supported by regulatory stability. If the outcome of the lawsuit remains in demand for a significant period of time… (automakers) could face stranded investment and planning uncertainty .”

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will announce on Friday its latest parallel revisions to the corporate average fuel economy rules through 2026, Reuters reported. Separately, NHTSA confirmed on Sunday that it is a dramatic jump in fines for car manufacturers that do not meet the legal standards.

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