Auto industry beats emission targets — EPA 

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015

For the second straight year, the auto industry exceeded government targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. EPA said in a report released today that also shows wide gaps among individual manufacturers.

For the 2013 model year, the industry as a whole brought carbon dioxide emissions down to an average of 279 grams per mile, or about 12 grams per mile below the goal for cars and trucks, according to the manufacturer performance report. Carmakers had previously outperformed the 2012 goal as well.

The new figures are “very good news,” Janet McCabe, EPA’s acting air chief, told reporters in a conference call. Carmakers came out ahead even though the 2013 standard is “significantly tougher” than the 2012 target, she said.

By the agency’s data, most automakers — representing more than 99 percent of sales — have met the standards for both years, while the remainder have several years to come into compliance.

Of 13 manufacturers with sales of more than 100,000 vehicles, nine beat their 2013 standards, as Hyundai led the way with a margin of compliance of 27 grams per mile. The four carmakers that did not exceed the 2013 target — BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen — had enough leftover credits from previous years to comply with both the 2012 and 2013 standards, the report said.

The standards are part of a long-term push to drive down auto-related carbon emissions by 2025.

Asked whether EPA is concerned that the plunge in gasoline prices will affect progress toward those goals as car buyers turn to larger vehicles, McCabe said the public understands that pump prices fluctuate. The best way to weather those ups and downs, she said, “is to invest in fuel-efficient vehicles, and I think we’re seeing people do that.”