States vow to press fight against Trump's vehicle fuel rules

The Trump administration on Thursday announced plans to freeze fuel efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks through 2026 while moving to undercut the ability of states - including ME - to set their own tailpipe emissions restrictions.

While the new standard is significantly lower than Obama's 2025 target of 54 miles per gallon, the difference is expected to have a minimal impact on climate.

And while automakers initially asked the Trump administration to loosen fuel economy requirements, this impending legal battle is one they would rather avoid.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump pastor: Trump is "the most pro-black" president I've ever seen Trump renews calls for interview with Mueller: report CNN's Acosta: Hannity is "injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream" MORE for his administration's plan to strip California of its ability to determine its own vehicle regulations for greenhouse gas emissions.

Automakers had long bemoaned the Obama standards as too hard to meet, especially as more consumers choose larger trucks, crossovers and SUVs, which guzzle more gasoline.

President Donald Trump listens as Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks at a rally in Nashville, Tenn. on May 29, 2018.

Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, a group that opposes the change to the fuel standards, calculates that the change will have the net effect of reducing the average real world fuel economy of American automobiles by about 8 miles per gallon in 2025 relative to what it would be if Obama era standards were kept in place. 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. We also hope the administration gives way on enforcing one national CAFE standard. "We're going to help the companies, and they're going to help you". "Maine wants cleaner cars nationwide because upwind pollution matters so much to us, so we've done our part by using the best clean vehicle standards available". Becerra also promised to sue if the Trump administration makes good on plans to revoke a longstanding waiver allowing California and other states to set their own stricter auto emissions standards.

The EPA and NHTSA are giving the public 60 days to provide feedback to the new proposal.

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.

The Trump administration believes that expenditure would be offset by reductions of several thousand dollars in the cost of new vehicles.

"This would be utterly unprecedented". Mui assumes that real world driving would result in about 80 percent of the fuel efficiency measured in laboratory testing.

He said in a statement that the organization would challenge the administration's action "in the court of public opinion and the court of law".

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