Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules

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"The outcome of unreasonable fuel economy and Carbon dioxide standards: Increased vehicle prices keep consumers in older, dirtier, and less safe vehicles", the EPA said in its proposal. And with President Donald Trump in the White House, the group would need a veto-proof majority to prevent the changes from going forward, should they actually receive and win a floor vote.

"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The states that have adopted California's emission rules together make up about one third of the us auto market.

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The Obama administration had planned to keep toughening fuel requirements through 2026, saying those and other regulations on vehicles would save 40,000 lives annually through cleaner air. Some of the states poised to join the suit, including Pennsylvania, adhere to California's stricter standards.

The Natural Resources Council of ME said the changes will result in more harmful pollutants drifting into ME - which already has among the nation's highest asthma rates - and "adds insult to injury by also eliminating states' rights to set our own clean auto standards". "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". California and 16 other states filed suit over the fuel efficiency standards in May, anticipating the new regulation.

In a separate move to unwind California's power to set the pace of auto emissions requirements, the proposal also asserts that a 1975 law prohibits states from setting their own greenhouse gas limits, a view two federal district judges have already rejected. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more unsafe has been disputed by transport experts.

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According to Trump administration estimates, the Obama fuel efficiency standards would raise the price of vehicles by an average of $2,340. "Under his reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air". 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. It also claims that lower new vehicle prices would mean more folks buying them and moving out of older, less safe cars.

Some Republican lawmakers supported the mileage freeze, but environmental groups and many states assailed it. He cautions that as the EPA provides more information about its new proposed standard, those calculations may change.

The government agencies claim its new proposal will save up to 1000 lives per year, as the less stringent standard will allow more people to afford new and safer vehicles.

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Besides, California - which is essentially now a foreign country - should not control the auto market and decide pollution and mileage standards for the rest of the country. "The administration's announcement that it will relax future fuel economy (CAFE) standards is good news for consumers", Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, said in a statement. Automakers, who had asked to be relieved of some of the mandates, have expressed misgivings about having to accommodate a patchwork of federal and state standards. "Kicking California bullies out of the fuel economy playground will expand consumer choice, while making new cars more affordable".

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