Trump proposes car-mileage rollback; states sue in protest

Make Cars Great Again

Make Cars Great Again

"The reporting that we're reversing Obama-era fuel efficiency standards and pre-empting the tougher California standard is simply false", Sanders said.

Becerra and attorneys general from 16 other states sued in May to stop the EPA from scrapping standards that would have required vehicles by 2025 to achieve 36 miles per gallon (58 kilometers per gallon) in real-world driving, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) over the existing standards.

"If the President thinks he can win this fight, he's out of his mind".

"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. The company went on to say the "proposal includes a range of options, and we will carefully evaluate how each aligns with FCA's goals of continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency".

'We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of American drivers'.

Just as significant, the administration is taking public comment on revoking California's Clean Air Act waiver for greenhouse gases.

The prospect of an extended legal fight has discomfited automakers, who had asked the administration to relax the Obama-era rules but don't want to see the USA market split in two, with different models of cars required in blue and red states. They said the average cost of a new automobile is $35,000 and attributed part of that to increasing fuel standards. Further, the administration is looking to strip California of the waiver that allows it to set its own standards. The plunge in natural gas prices and other market forces have steadily lowered the climate impact of utilities, but transportation is proving more stubborn.

The Trump administration's proposal would freeze fuel-efficiency standards at 2020 levels - about 37 miles per gallon by 2026, down from the Obama administration's almost 47 mpg - and weaken electric vehicle mandates.

The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released new draft fuel economy targets, dubbed the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule.

The Obama administration had planned to keep toughening fuel requirements through 2026, saying those and other regulations on vehicles would save 40,000 lives annually through cleaner air.

Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan.

Chet France, an EPA senior executive until his retirement in 2012, called the administration's contention that the mileage freeze would cause only a tiny increase in climate-changing exhaust emissions "bogus". He cautions that as the EPA provides more information about its new proposed standard, those calculations may change.

The plan to revise pollution rules has been in the works for more than a year.

U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who represents Long Beach, noted this last week in a post on social media where he cast the White House's plan to freeze fuel efficiency standards as a "bitter misguided attack" on both California and the environment. But now, the state's emissions standards are in jeopardy.

The difference between the two standards could amount to several hundred dollars a year in increased fuel expenditures for the typical motorist.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, sought to stave off any dispute between California and the federal government that could split the USA auto market: "We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of American drivers".

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