Trump details looser mpg regulations; states vow to fight

04 August, 2018, 02:11 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Jon Wong  Roadshow

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 proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision previous year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming. "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", a statement from Wheeler reads.

All of this could be somewhat mitigated if California can set stronger standards; at the moment, the state and federal standard are the same.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers are supportive of the proposed changes, saying they "support continued improvements in fuel economy and flexibilities that incentivise advanced technologies while balancing priorities like affordability, safety, jobs, and the environment".

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 the state would "use every legal tool at its disposal" to defend the tougher rules.

A group of 20 state attorneys general announced their intent to sue the government over the EPA's proposed rules, arguing that the new guidelines would cost Americans up to $236 billion in gas and add the equivalent of emissions from 400 million cars.

Two former EPA mileage officials said the administration's proposal departed from years of findings on fuel efficiency, vehicle safety, exhaust emissions and costs.

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California has been able to set its own emissions standards for decades, in part to combat the smog that used to blanket its major cities, and Reuters points out that other states have chosen to follow in California's footsteps in years past. In addition, it plans to revoke a waiver for California that allows it to enact its own vehicle regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. The plunge in natural gas prices and other market forces have steadily lowered the climate impact of utilities, but transportation is proving more stubborn.

The Trump proposal would freeze standards at 2020 levels when vehicles will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon (48 kilometers per gallon) in real-world driving.

Thursday's rule-making proposal from the EPA and NHTSA also presents several other options for modifying the Obama targets, while recommending the proposed freeze starting in 2020, the most severe of the scenarios.

Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan. And what the Trump administration is doing in trying to roll those back, it's going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars more at the pump. In May, California and 16 other states filed a preemptive lawsuit arguing the rollback would be illegal.

As EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained, "Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less".

At the same time, it plans to block California from putting its own mileage standards into place.

"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.

Automakers have said they want improved efficiency but also want standards that account for the massive shift from cars to trucks and SUVs.

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