The Clean Air Act of 2007 granted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate vehicle emissions. Furthermore, the act gave individual states permission to set their own emissions policies (the dreaded "patchwork"), a move that would've forced automakers to develop cars that meet different standards depending on where the vehicle would eventually be sold. After a lot of discussion and lobbying, the federal government adopted a nationwide mandate of 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016.

Don't think that the underlying fight is over, though. Earlier this month, Fred Upton, R-MI and Ed Whitfield, R-KY introduced a bill aimed at overturning the Clean Air Act. The proposed measure calls for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to assume sole authority over setting corporate average fuel economy standards, relinquishing the EPA of its control over emissions regulations.

The Obama administration is shoving back, hard. The administration continues to discuss 2017-2025 fuel economy and emissions standards with automakers, the state of California and environmental groups. Even David Strickland, administrator of the NHTSA, feels that crafting standards should be a team effort with the EPA, NHTSA and the state of California, stating:
We need to do this together. Regardless of what happens on the Hill, we're working very hard today to get these rules done by September.
Strickland says that he, along with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and President Obama "stand shoulder-to-shoulder [-to shoulder] on this."

The House bill has been given the green light by the Energy and Power subcommittee and voting is expected to take place in the next couple of weeks.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Clinton Steeds – C.C. 2.0]

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