19 states vow to sue over proposed fuel efficiency rollbacks

Gwen Vasquez
August 3, 2018

The Trump administration, taking aim at one of former President Barack Obama's signature environmental achievements, is proposing to freeze vehicle fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level and unwind California's authority to limit tailpipe emissions in the state.

"The earth is not flat and climate change is real", Becerra said.

"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".

"I'm sure you've all heard the big news that we're going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars in America again", Trumptold a crowd in Detroit on March 15, 2017.

"We come from a free-market perspective, where we believe consumers should have a choice in their vehicles, and they can weigh all the appropriate factors - be it size, horsepower, utility or fuel economy", Derrick Morgan, senior vice president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade group, which advocated for the changes in a meeting at the White House in June, told Bloomberg.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the rollback would imperil the state's efforts to curb greenhouse gases and clean up some of the nation's most polluted air. A dozen other states and Washington DC also follow higher standards.

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What were the Obama administration guidelines?

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.

In addition to new fuel economy standards, the EPA is expected to revoke California's right to impose its own emissions standards under the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 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. The new rules would cap corporate average fuel economy standards at 43.7 mpg for passenger cars and 31.3 mpg for light trucks through model year 2026. On Thursday, the White House also seemed to be stepping back a bit from the proposal.

The administration will now seek public comment on its proposal and a range of other options, including leaving the tighter, Obama fuel standards in place. Critics said it would accelerate climate change and increase fuel prices. Under the Obama-era plan, the target was 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The prices on new cars have become unaffordable to median-income families in every metropolitan region in the United States except Washington, according to an independent study by Bankrate.com. That would allow more people to buy cars with enhanced safety features, the government said.

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. As a result, the age of the average vehicle in America is now nearly 12 years old, the highest in USA history, according to IHS Markit. "It is anticipated to prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule". "Under his reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air". The 2020 standard would be around 32 miles per gallon.

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