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Biden admin announces 'ambitious' new vehicle mileage standards to fight climate change

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Fresh off an apparent defeat on its $1.75 trillion climate and social spending package, the Biden administration announced this week it would be significantly raising vehicle mileage standards in an effort to fight global warming.

What are the details?

The Associated Press reported Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing a rule to "raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026."

The news agency said the new rule amounts to a massive 25% increase over a fuel standards rule implemented last year under the Trump administration and is even 5% higher than a proposal submitted by Biden's EPA in August of this year.

In a news release issued on Monday, the EPA called the new rules "the most ambitious federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks ever."

“The final rule for light duty vehicles reflect core principles of this Administration: We followed the science, we listened to stakeholders, and we are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet – and save families money at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“At EPA, our priority is to protect public health, especially in overburdened communities, while responding to the President’s ambitious climate agenda. Today we take a giant step forward in delivering on those goals, while paving the way toward an all-electric, zero-emissions transportation future," he added.

The agency argued that the "benefits of this rule exceed the costs by as much as $190 billion" through lowered costs for drivers via improved fuel efficiency. It also predicted that by 2050, the program would result in preventing more than 3 billion tons of greenhouse gas from being emitted into the environment.

What's the background?

The EPA announcement comes amid the backdrop of a climate and social spending failure by the Biden administration.

Over the weekend, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) delivered a devastating blow to the administration by announcing that he would not support the president's Build Back Better plan, effectively killing the legislation. The announcement set off a chain of negative reactions from progressive media figures, Democratic lawmakers, and White House officials.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki berated Manchin in a 700-plus-word statement, alleging that the senator went back on his word. Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called out Manchin for not having the "guts" to go through with the plan. And Politico editor Sam Stein complained that Manchin's decision would be "devastating for the planet."

Biden has made aggressively fighting climate change a fundamental tenet of his presidency. He has proposed a goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030, and his administration has been intent on growing the electric vehicle market in America.

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