Trump administration to freeze fuel efficiency requirements

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

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it would be freezing Obama-era fuel efficiency guidelines that required US vehicles to become significantly more fuel efficient.

Cars drive past a California emissions testing site in Oceanside, California, U.S. on September 29, 2015. After the EPA announced in April that it intends to remove the Obama-era mileage standard, California and 16 other states sued the EPA to fight the Trump rule change. They claimed the reduced standards would make new cars more affordable. "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. Whereas under the previous rules enacted in 2012, CAFE targets would ramp up every year, the new proposal intends to keep the 2020 numbers in place through 2026.

California Gov. Jerry Brown called the proposal "reckless".

Seventeen states filed a lawsuit against the EPA in May after it announced plans to roll back auto emission standards and the agency is sure to face vigorous pushback over the proposal published today.

"Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less".

Arnold Schwarzenegger slammed President Trump as "out of his mind" on Thursday for wanting to freeze fuel emission standards and strip the state of the ability to set its own regulations to limit greenhouse gasses. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said this week that he would like to "come up with a 50-state solution that does not necessitate pre-empting California".

"The administration's proposal goes beyond a simple rollback". The administration also contends that hiking USA oil consumption by 2 to 3 percent over forecast levels would have a minimal impact on the environment, boosting global average temperature by just "3/1000th of a degree Celsius by 2100".

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The administration also proposed a withdrawal of California's Clean Air Act preemption waiver. Apparently, this could save 1000 lives a year if fuel economy standards remain at 2020 levels. Environmental Protection Agency in May.

The freeze would also eliminate $3 billion in estimated fines for automakers not meeting efficiency standards, but did not specify which automakers could avoid fines.

Republicans in states with links to the auto industry may counter that the administration is working to ensure automakers can make more profitable, larger vehicles, including fuel-thirsty pickups and SUVs.

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.

Some middle ground on the issue might be possible.

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. That would allow more people to buy cars with enhanced safety features, the government said.

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