Trump's EPA formally launches rollback of fuel economy standards

The new Trump administration proposal to freeze rules to build more fuel-efficient cars-and revoke California's long-standing right to set stronger standards for clean cars-would cost the American economy $457 billion by 2050, according to an analysis from the nonprofit Energy Innovation.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have unveiled their new proposal for fuel economy standards following the scrapping of the Obama-era plan which called for a corporate average fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg (65.4 mpg United Kingdom / 4.3L / 100km) by 2025. The less stringent standards would apply to model years between 2021 and 2026.

Under the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, the fleet of cars and light-duty trucks released by automakers each year will only have to average about 37 mpg by 2026.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says President Donald Trump is ¿out of his mind¿ for terminating Obama-era fuel emission standards while denying his home state of California the legal right to impose its own regulations. But any plans to freeze clean air rules and strip California of its power to set its own rules is drawing fire from members of both parties.

The federal agencies have also referenced a "50-state program", calling into question California's authority to implement its own more strict emissions regulations. Becerra said the rules not only keep the air clean, but save people money at the pump. "We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan". "At first glance, this proposal completely misrepresents costs and savings".

"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 America's drivers", said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Environmental groups in ME, which is among the states that adopted California's tougher emissions requirements for new cars, and around the country quickly denounced the widely anticipated move.

The administration asserts the freeze will also improve vehicle affordability "leading to increased use of newer, safer, cleaner and more efficient vehicles".

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

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation said the increase in emission standards for cars built from 2021 to 2026 would hurt vehicle sales and improve safety of motorists across the country.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement Thursday that there is no need to change the standards, and that the state is "not going to let him" change its emissions standards. Colorado is set to become the 13th state soon.

"This has to be absolutely one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that the EPA has taken", said Healey of MA, one of the attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia objecting to the change.

Easing requirements that cars be more fuel efficient should make them both cheaper and safer, getting vehicles with the latest safety developments in the hands of consumers, officials said. The administration estimates that halting more ambitious fuel efficiency targets would save Americans thousands of dollars on every new vehicle purchased and avoid 1,000 road deaths a year. At least twelve other states and the District of Columbia follow California's rules.

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