Trump Administration Proposes Freezing Obama-Era Vehicle Fuel Economy Requirements

03 August, 2018, 18:13 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Make Cars Great Again

California and 16 other states already have filed suit to block any change in the fuel efficiency rules. "We're going to help the companies, and they're going to help you". At the moment, the state standard and the national one are the same-but if they diverged, automakers could end up making multiple versions of each vehicle to sell in different parts of the U.S. The Trump administration wants to take away California's right to set higher standards. The resolution enables Congress to essentially void an executive branch regulation it deems misguided or unnecessary.

It also dovetails with the Republican president's broader effort to unwind green regulation, much of it enacted by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration.

Chart showing EPA fuel-efficiency targets.

Calling a new Trump administration proposal to roll back fuel efficiency standards "insane", Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the state would join 18 others, including California, to legally challenge the sweeping plan to scrap Obama-era rules that set increasingly higher standards.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the EPA and Transportation Department would freeze the standards at 2020 levels through 2026.

The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly proposed on Thursday to cap fuel economy requirements at a fleet average of 37 miles per gallon starting in 2020.

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"The agencies' preferred alternative reflects a balance of safety, economics, technology, fuel conservation, and pollution reduction", the DoT wrote in a statement.

The rules also claim that keeping the lower mpg requirements will prevent 12,700 fatalities and many more injuries on American roads.

As vehicle manufacturers boosted fuel economy across their fleets, incremental improvements have become more costly and complicated while returns have diminished, the agencies say.

Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups argue the move will harm the environment, however.

A drawn-out legal battle over the standards could hurt the auto industry as it tries to plan for coming model years. The federal government has issued a waiver for years so that California can set higher mileage standards than the rest of the country.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday called the Trump administration proposals "an assault on the health of Americans everywhere".

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"Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we're not giving that up to President Trump without a fight", Feinstein said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Twitter that "The #Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's #CleanCarStandards".

According to Trump administration estimates, the Obama fuel efficiency standards would raise the price of vehicles by an average of $2,340.

If California chooses to set stricter standards, other states can follow; 14 states and D.C. have adopted California's standards so far.

At a Senate Environment and Public Works hearing Wednesday, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared receptive to Democrats' requests for the EPA to allow automobile manufacturers and California to reach a compromise.

"This has to be absolutely one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that the EPA has taken", said Healey of MA, one of the attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia objecting to the change.

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