Trump EPA Rolls Back Obama-Era Fuel Economy Standards

Trump EPA Rolls Back Obama-Era Fuel Economy Standards

The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the administration supports freezing the mileage standards after 2020, but would seek public comment now on that proposal and a range of others, including leaving the tighter, Obama administration fuel standards in place.

"EPA is proposing to withdraw the waiver granted to California in 2013 for the GHG [Greenhouse Gas] and ZEV [Zero Emissions Vehicles] requirements of its Advanced Clean Cars program", the proposal says.

Representatives of the USA auto industry praised the administration's proposal, even as some automakers privately have expressed unease at the prospect of abrupt changes in fuel standards and having to meet different standards in different states.

In Thursday's proposal, the Trump administration argues that its proposed freeze will have a "negligible" impact on air quality, and boost the earth's temperature by 3/1000th of one degree Celsius by 2100. He cautions that as the EPA provides more information about its new proposed standard, those calculations may change. In announcing the new standards in 2012, the Obama administration said the stricter rules would save around 6bn tons of greenhouse gases by 2026, as well as save Americans $1.7tn in fuel costs.

"The Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's Clean Car Standards", California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said in a statement.

The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks. "This will lead to more polluting vehicles, cost consumers more and it won't save any lives". "For 48 years - since one of my heroes, then-Governor Ronald Reagan, requested it - California has had a waiver from the federal government to clean our own air", Schwarzenegger wrote in a statement on Twitter.

The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board said in June that it would review a number of the changes made under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, including the plan to reduce vehicle efficiency standards.

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Ultimately, the two agencies published Thursday's proposal jointly, and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler publicly defended the proposal during testimony Wednesday before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The proposal itself estimates it could cost tens of thousands of jobs - auto workers who deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient.

The Obama-era rules also drove auto prices higher, since prior estimates fell short of what incremental improvements to fuel efficiency actually cost. California and about a dozen states that follow its rules account for about a third of all the passenger vehicles sold in the United States. And with President Donald Trump in the White House, the group would need a veto-proof majority to prevent the changes from going forward, should they actually receive and win a floor vote.

The Trump administration proposal could also invalidate California's mandate that automakers sell a certain number of electric vehicles. The result, opponents say, will be dirtier air and more pollution-related illness and death.

The Obama standards called for vehicles to get around 50 miles to the gallon by the year 2025.

A drawn-out legal battle over the standards could hurt the auto industry as it tries to plan for coming model years.

Democrats hope to make any rollback of the emissions rules a key part of midterm elections in November, when they will be seeking to try to regain control of one or both chambers of Congress.

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