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Trump team wants to roll back Obama-era mileage standards

02 August 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he is already preparing a lawsuit to prevent the Trump administration from rolling back the standards. The statement said that the two agencies were announcing "a joint proposal to update the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards to give consumers greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles, while continuing to protect the environment".

The proposal from EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines a series of options for the auto rules.

Public health experts and environmental groups condemned the White House proposal even before its official release, arguing that it overlooks how much money Americans would save at the pump if cars were more efficient and also squanders a chance to cut pollution from the transportation sector, which has become the nation's largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

"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.

Transport has become the largest sector source of greenhouse gas emissions in the USA, as cheap fuel has encouraged Americans to buy larger vehicles such as SUVs.

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Thursday's rule-making proposal from the EPA and NHTSA also presents several other options for modifying the Obama targets, while recommending the proposed freeze starting in 2020, the most severe of the scenarios.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would be freezing Obama-era guidelines that required US vehicles to become significantly more fuel efficient. States that have followed California's emissions standard immediately said they will sue the EPA should the new rule be finalized. And it says that compared to the 2012 rules, the new proposal would raise USA fuel consumption by half a million barrels per day (that's between two and three percent daily).

"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 on his Twitter account.

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, it changes what is possible in terms of vehicle fuel efficiency". "It might even cause auto prices to stop increasing so rapidly".

The 19 states, and Washington D.C, announced what is likely to be a legal showdown over the proposal. "Letting one state make decisions for people in other states makes a bad program even worse, especially since the state is California, which has been pursuing an anti-car agenda for decades".

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The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require automakers' cars to average about 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin praised the administration's move, saying the free market should determine what types of cars are available. Environmental Protection Agency in May.

But David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports, called the move "a serious mistake that will cost consumers dearly".

Automakers view the new proposal as a starting point for negotiations with California, with hopes of keeping one fuel efficiency standard for the entire nation.

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Trump team wants to roll back Obama-era mileage standards