Preserving Flexibility

Decisions EPA is making today will have a major impact on the cost-effectiveness of its planned move to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The agency has proposed and will soon finalize performance standards for new power plants. These new-source standards are a prerequisite for the planned existing-source standards, but are ostensibly otherwise unrelated […]

Research Questions for the Midterm CAFE Review: The Fuel Efficiency Gap

This is the second in a series of blog posts by RFF’s transportation team that will address some of the key research questions for the midterm CAFE review. As the first post in this series described, US standards for passenger vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions are slated to tighten steeply. By 2025, the […]

Research Questions for the Midterm CAFE Review

Our country is about to enter the most important period this decade for the future of transportation and its associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fuel economy and GHG standards for both light-duty vehicles and heavier trucks are slated to tighten, reducing not only oil use but also GHG emissions. There is significant uncertainty about how […]

Giving Too Much Away?

The Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, a suit challenging the agency’s authority to address greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act’s PSD permitting program. I have not followed the case closely, and hesitate to make any predictions based on comments at oral arguments anyway. However, one comment […]

Who Benefits from Flexible GHG Rules?

US climate policy is unfolding under the Clean Air Act. Mobile source and construction permitting regulations are in place. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed draft final rules for the performance of new power plants. Most important, EPA and the states will soon determine the form and stringency of the regulations for existing […]

What to Expect From EPA Climate Rules

I have a new piece in the Milken Institute Review that looks at EPA’s current and near-future carbon emissions rules. It starts at the beginning of the story and is aimed at a more-or-less general audience, so if you haven’t been following the issue it’s a good place to start. Among other things I point […]

States Can’t Take the Credit, But They Do Matter

In America, the story goes, states lead on climate policy and the federal government follows. That argument is probably overstated a bit today, but it will become increasingly true in the future. Cap-and-trade programs in California and the Northeast and renewable portfolio standards across the country are the only major policies in place aimed specifically […]

Can Anyone Challenge EPA’s Coal Ban?

Dan Farber argued recently that coal interests would likely find it hard to challenge EPA’s new source performance standards (NSPS), even though the standards would effectively ban construction of new coal plants without expensive and unproven carbon capture and storage technology. The reason: standing. Since few if any coal plants are being built (because of […]

Supreme Court To Hear Key EPA/Carbon Case, But Only on Narrow Grounds

The Supreme Court today granted cert for (agreed to hear) appeals from a set of consolidated cases decided by the DC Circuit last year. In those cases, the lower court had preserved EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Ann Carlson of UCLA has an excellent summary on Legal Planet - it’s worth […]

Market Shares and Technology Driving Up Fuel Economy in New Vehicles

From the late 1980s to about 2004, the average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles in the United States declined gradually. Then, over the past 10 years, fuel economy jumped suddenly, up almost 20 percent by 2012. In a recent paper, my colleague Shefali Khanna and I ask which end of the production line explains […]