EPA Proposes To Freeze Fuel Economy Standards At 37 MPG

The agency suggests keeping the Obama-era standards would add $2,340 to the cost of owning a new vehicle, "and impose more than $500 billion in societal costs" on the USA economy over the next 50 years. The plan, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, asserts that lower fuel economy standards will save lives - the higher price of more fuel-efficient vehicles (about $2,300 more per auto, they say) encourages some people to continue driving older, less-safe vehicles, the agencies say.

"It's my goal and this administration's goal to come up with a 50-state solution, and we want to have a 50-state solution that does not necessitate preempting California".

The proportion of passengers killed in cars that are older than 18 years is nearly double that of cars that are newer than three years, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study.

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

The rulemaking proposal also calls for one national standard and proposes to withdraw California's Clean Air Act Preemption Waiver, which already drew angry reactions from California.

Those states have said they'll sue to keep their emissions standards on the books.

Reforming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards is a huge tax cut for American auto buyers, up to a $7,200 per vehicle.

Schwarzenegger added that he's "sick and exhausted of these fake conservatives who believe in states' rights to make their own policies - as long as state policy is to pollute more". It's likely to set up a lengthy legal battle between California and the Trump administration.

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

"The administration's announcement that it will relax future fuel economy (CAFE) standards is good news for consumers", Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, said in a statement. Assuming, strictly for illustration purposes, a gasoline price of three dollars per gallon, that would result in an increased annual fuel expenditure of about $318.

Environmental and cost impacts of freezing the rules are said to be minimal.

It further argues these reduced costs would allow more consumers to purchase newer, safer cars, which it says would save up to 1,000 lives annually.

All of this could be somewhat mitigated if California can set stronger standards; at the moment, the state and federal standard are the same.

The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision previous year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.

Another claimed benefit: More affordable cars.

Besides, California - which is essentially now a foreign country - should not control the auto market and decide pollution and mileage standards for the rest of the country.

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