Trump administration seeks to freeze gas mileage standards for new cars

Trump administration seeks to freeze gas mileage standards for new cars

Trump administration seeks to freeze gas mileage standards for new cars

Brown Jr., California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols today expressed their strong opposition to the proposed rule from the Trump Administration that would imperil the current greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2021-2026 vehicles and put in place weakened emission and fuel efficiency standards at the expense of our health, our environment, and our economy.

Becerra also promised another lawsuit if the administration makes good on what he called "arbitrary and capricious" plans to revoke a longstanding waiver allowing California and other states to set their own stricter auto emissions standards. Critics said it would accelerate climate change and increase fuel prices. It'll be a legal showdown unless the state, the administration and automakers can reach an agreement before then.

"For an administration that is happy to let states set their own rules when it comes to weakening environmental protection, it's the height of hypocrisy to deny California and a dozen other states their right to protect their people from global warming", Becker said in a statement. They also have long bemoaned the fact that California's higher standards requires them to make special exceptions for the nation's largest auto market.

Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump called for a rollback, urging "common sense changes" if the mileage requirements threatened auto industry jobs.

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.

The administration's proposal, jointly published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers to almost double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of about 54 mpg by 2025. That would price many buyers out of the new-vehicle market, forcing them to drive older, less-safe vehicles that pollute more, the administration says. "They're ignoring the hard work and innovation of American scientists, who have said, "No, we actually know what we need to do - let's do it, let's move forward, '" she says".

The administration must gather feedback on the proposal before it is finalized, a process that could take months and that could be further delayed by lawsuits.

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"Trump administration officials expect that if the rule is adopted it will "...prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule". Those standards are considerably more restrictive than even the current federal policy.

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".

Implementing that "50-state solution" is nearly certain to come into conflict with California's statewide mileage requirements, which are stricter than the federal government's. "It's a proposal that attacks the states' right to protect people from risky pollution, one that no one - not the American public, not the states, not even most automakers - really wants, and one that's being presented to the public under the false and easily discredited guise of improving public safety", the statement continued.

California and 16 other states sued in the administration over the fuel efficiency standards in May, anticipating the new regulation. "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible". 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.

SOMMER: That's Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaking before the U.S. Senate yesterday. The Sierra Club says the EPA and NHTSA rely on "convoluted and baseless claims" to justify their freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels, which would increase gas consumption by up to 500,000 barrels a day, the group says.

He said gas prices are "at historically low levels and that changes driving habits, that changes the kind of cars and trucks that people want to buy". She says under federal law, California can set its own vehicle emission rules if it can show it's trying to fix extraordinary conditions.

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