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Michigan and 17 other states ask to defend new fuel economy standards

Michigan and 17 other states with Democratic attorneys general asked to intervene Wednesday in a lawsuit defending new, stringent fuel economy standards set by the Biden administration. 

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced new fuel economy standards that would increase in stringency by 8% annually for model years 2024 and 2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. 

Former President Donald Trump set fuel economy standards for the same time period at 1.5% annual increases; former President Barack Obama’s rules set them at 5% annual increases. 

Eleven Republican-led states and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers separately sued NHTSA over the new rules, seeking weaker standards over concerns of rising vehicle costs. 

The group filing Wednesday seeks to defend the new rules, arguing they will create fuel savings and health and environmental benefits. 

“Setting fuel economy standards to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce refinery pollution is good for everyone,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This will reduce harmful emissions, save consumers money, and help protect the health of our communities.”

Nessel was joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. The cities of Los Angeles and New York and the City and County of Denver also joined. 

The motion must be approved by the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit before the states will officially be allowed to intervene. 

Transportation remains the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, with passenger cars and light trucks making up nearly 60% of transportation emissions, according to EPA. 

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @rbeggin