Trump EPA Rolls Back Obama-Era Fuel Economy Standards

Trump's EPA formally launches attack on California's fuel-economy rules

Trump's EPA formally launches attack on California's fuel-economy rules

- State prosecutors from California to MA blasted the Trump administration Thursday for proposing weaker auto fuel-efficiency standards they said would imperil clean air and increase greenhouse gases. Those standards target a doubling of the fuel economy standards to 50 miles per gallon. Yet for President Donald Trump, who's prioritized eliminating regulations, the auto rules represent a grand prize. California received the exemption - the only state to do so - decades ago because it was already developing its own standards when federal rules were being written. "More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment".

The auto industry, which has often baulked at the higher costs associated with the tougher USA standards, strongly backs a national standard that could be negotiated between Washington and California.

But Becerra, the California attorney general, said the EPA is rewriting its own detailed analysis from 2012 and that his state is set to exceed its goal of electric vehicles.

And one of the best things that we can do as a nation to help make sure that we have clean air and a safe planet is to make sure that we maintain fuel efficiency standards.

"We'll use every tool available to block the Trump administration's U-turn on fuel efficiency", the Massachusetts Democrat said, adding later, "We won't stop until this misguided change is put in the rearview mirror".

More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 percent of the country's new-vehicle market.

In a 978-page document (pdf) released on August 2, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also proposing to retract a waiver issued to California in 2013, which enabled the state to set its own stricter emissions standards.

Under the Obama administration's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, new cars sold in the USA must average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025.

President Donald Trump said in March past year that his administration is working on relaxing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards set by his predecessor.

The administration also proposed a withdrawal of California's Clean Air Act preemption waiver. According to the EPA's proposal, "Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks", the agency would amend the rules to retain standards for model year 2020.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the administration is "driving our auto future in reverse".

The argument may prove a tough sell in court, where attorneys for states and environmental groups will come armed with a wealth of data undermining it. The proposal also claims it will save up to 1,000 lives a year by encouraging people to buy safer, newer cars to replace older, less-safe cars.

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".

"If the United States emissions dropped to zero-that means all electrical generation emissions, all transportation emissions, all manufacturing emissions-if they all went to zero, it would be very hard to see that signal in the global temperature even by the year 2100".

During an earnings conference call last week, General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra repeatedly emphasised the need for a single national standard on fuel economy.

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