Trump Pumps the Brakes on Obama-Era Fuel Standards - Hit & Run


The Obama standards called for vehicles to get around 50 miles to the gallon by the year 2025. As for California's waiver, which was granted in 2013, the proposal says that the EPA will exercise its right to revoke that waiver since it finds the state's standards to be "arbitrary and capricious", unnecessary and inconsistent with parts of the Clean Air Act. In our federalist system, California and other states should be able to experiment with what is permissible on their roadways.

The administration is seeking comments on the plan.

"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said DOT Secretary Elaine Chao in a press release on Thursday. In addition, it wants to do away with California's exemption to set its own standards. "Rather than capitalize on this progress and continue with plans to strengthen fuel efficiency and cut pollution, this move by regulators will ultimately leave consumers footing a higher bill".

TreeHugger previously wrote about how the EPA and the administration were going to roll back scheduled increases in fuel efficiency agreed to by the auto makers and the Obama administration. Requiring auto makers to reach ever-increasing standards would now be too expensive, putting the cost of vehicles increasingly out of reach.

"More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment", said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

But the Trump administration is arguing its plan, which it dubbed Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule, or SAFE, would save lives, replacing current standards that officials claim drive up the cost of vehicles too much and create a safety hazard for motorists.

The Transportation Department says the proposal would shrink regulatory costs for automakers by $319 billion through 2029, reducing by more than $60 billion what General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV each would have been expected to spend to comply with the Obama-era rules.

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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.

In 2012, when the standards were first adopted, cars were about 50 percent of new-vehicle sales.

Nearly immediately after the Trump administration formally released its plan to gut the nation's fuel efficiency standards, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra denounced the proposal as a "brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's clean auto standards", and vowed to continue challenging Trump's deregulatory agenda in court.

Becerra said his state is already witnessing the impact of climate change with 332,000 acres burned this year from wildfires, which usually don't begin to ramp up until August. 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.

Climate change is real.

Becerra said he was already preparing to sue the Trump administration and would be joined by 18 other state attorneys general, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and NY.