Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Trump Administration Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standards For Cars

Trump Administration Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standards For Cars

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. 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. Meanwhile, California's strict fuel economy and emissions standards have caused financial losses for carmakers, which must raise prices on cars elsewhere to make up for the loss, the proposal states.

The administration's rule aims to preempt California's Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver and argues that it should be pulled entirely.

"Everyone loses at the end", says Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the environmental nonprofit NRDC and the California lead for the organizations' clean vehicles and fuels, climate, and energy program.

Representatives of the US auto industry praised the administration's proposal, even as some automakers privately have expressed unease at the prospect of abrupt changes in fuel standards and having to meet different standards in different states.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Twitter that "The #Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's #CleanCarStandards". Those losses would hit the estimated 200,000 U.S.jobs that deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient, said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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It also wants to stop states such as California being able to set their own standards.

As part of the SAFE rule package, the federal government is also seeking to revoke California's ability to set its own greenhouse gas emissions targets for vehicles, as well as the state's zero emissions vehicles mandate. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more risky has been disputed by transport experts.

The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.

It would also worsen air quality problems in Southern California and other areas where officials are already struggling to clean smog and ease rates of asthma and other illnesses.

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.

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The rollback has provoked outcry from environmental and health groups, as well as states who are pushing for cleaner vehicle fleets. But a joint proposal released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would freeze those standards for post-2020 models, meaning cars would only have to average about 37 mpg by 2026. 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.

"For more than a decade, ME and the other states have used our rights under the Clean Air Act to limit tailpipe pollution beyond federal minimum requirements", Emmie Theberge, federal project director at NRCM, said in a statement. He cautions that as the EPA provides more information about its new proposed standard, those calculations may change.

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.

"If the United States emissions dropped to zero-that means all electrical generation emissions, all transportation emissions, all manufacturing emissions-if they all went to zero, it would be very hard to see that signal in the global temperature even by the year 2100".

The difference between the two standards could amount to several hundred dollars a year in increased fuel expenditures for the typical motorist.

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