Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Trump details looser mpg regulations; states vow to fight

Trump details looser mpg regulations; states vow to fight

He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation today unveiled a proposal to freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules from 2020 through 2026.

The administration wants to freeze a rule mandating that automakers work to make cars substantially more fuel efficient. Under the Obama administration, automakers were required to reach a fleetwide average fuel economy for all cars and light trucks of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025.

The waiver allows the state to set tougher tailpipe rules than the federal ones. California's standards are followed by 13 other states.

"I hope some conservatives with a conscience will act in Washington to defend California's waiver based on these historic Republican values", he said.

The proposal, released Thursday will be available for public comment for 60 days and the EPA and DOT plan to hold three public hearings to hear testimony on the issue.

The changes are considered massive regulatory rollbacks of Obama administration policies that argued requiring more fuel efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety. "We are delivering on President Trump's promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards", a statement from Wheeler reads. "Thanks to emissions and efficiency rules, consumers have saved billions of dollars on fuel over the last 5 years and pollution has dropped".

The administration said the freeze would boost USA oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the 2030s, and argued it would prevent up to 1,000 traffic fatalities per year by reducing the price of new vehicles and so prompting people to buy newer, safer vehicles more quickly. 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. Sales did begin to tail off at the end of 2017. Electric cars and trucks still account for a tiny fraction of those sold, and driver preference for SUVs, along with relatively low gas prices, have inhibited progress there.

Myron Ebell, a senior energy scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Trump EPA transition chair, cheered the Trump administration's proposed rule change on Thursday. But the proposal still must be approved, and it's already being challenged by 13 states that have their own stricter emissions goals. The state needs to curtail carbon dioxide emissions with help from fuel efficiency, he said.

Climate change is real.

"We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan", the coalition of states attorneys, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, said in a news release.

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