EPA unveils plan to lower Obama-era federal fuel standards

Trump's EPA formally launches rollback of fuel economy standards

They stayed stagnant until 2007, when they were raised to 35 mpg by 2020, combined for cars and trucks.

"It's my goal and this administration's goal to come up with a 50-state solution, and we want to have a 50-state solution that does not necessitate preempting California".

Not lost on many opponents of the freeze is the fact that nations around the world are experiencing extreme weather - triple-digit heat waves in Japan, wildfires in Sweden, Greece and California, and drought in South Africa - that scientists are directly tying to climate change, brought about in significant part by burning fossil fuels. A dozen other states and Washington DC also follow higher standards. Under the Obama-era plan, the target was 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Schwarzenegger's successor as governor, Jerry Brown, called the Trump administration proposals 'an assault on the health of Americans everywhere'. 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.

The US government on Thursday proposed weakening fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, referred to as the clean vehicle rule.

Said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao: "There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026". The affordability argument also ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a vehicle, opponents of the rollbacks said.

Vehicles are the single largest cause of emissions in the USA that cause global warming, recently surpassing the electricity sector.

It said the freeze would equate to between $193 billion and $236 billion in additional cumulative fuel costs for consumers by 2035.

The greatest increase in greenhouse gas emissions would happen in the 2030s because electric cars will grow significantly by the 2040s, the Energy Innovation analysis found. Both agencies are sure to be flooded with thousands of comments from automakers, environmentalists and other interested parties. The firm projects the policy would cost the US economy $457 billion and cause 13,000 deaths by 2050, as air quality suffers.

What started as a mandate in the mid-1970's to reduce foreign imports of oil morphed into a costly and unworkable environmental regulation thanks to bureaucrats in the previous Administration and in Sacramento. For example, Obama's EPA argued that a dual-clutch transmission would soon be widely adopted as a cost-effective way to get more miles per gallon. The government also said the proposal will save consumers $2,340 (£1,796 / €2,017) since automakers won't have to increase prices to offset the costs of building more efficient vehicles.

The rollback has provoked outcry from environmental and health groups, as well as states who are pushing for cleaner vehicle fleets. Vehicle expert Simon Mui at the Natural Resources Defense Council says those losses would hit the estimated 200,000 US auto-industry jobs that deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient. "They have failed before".

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. They are gearing up for a legal and political battle, particularly over the California waiver.

Those negotiations have gone nowhere.

The Trump administration argues the new standards strike a regulatory balance between costs, road safety, fuel consumption, pollution and other regulatory factors.

"There is no precedent for revoking California's waiver", said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group in Washington.

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