Trump Administration Looks To Roll Back Mileage Standards

Thursday's proposal would freeze an effort by the Obama administration meant to promote auto fuel efficiency and curb tailpipe emissions of climate-changing pollutants.

The administration said the freeze would boost USA oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the 2030s, and argued it would prevent up to 1,000 traffic fatalities per year by reducing the price of new vehicles and so prompting people to buy newer, safer vehicles more quickly.

In the draft proposal published today by the EPA and the Transportation Department, the Trump administration says that the amendments are being made because current standards are "no longer appropriate and reasonable".

The administration asserts the freeze will also improve vehicle affordability "leading to increased use of newer, safer, cleaner and more efficient vehicles".

The administration said the proposed rollback would mean billions of dollars in regulatory savings for auto manufacturers.

The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision past year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.

The changes are considered massive regulatory rollbacks of Obama administration policies that argued requiring more fuel efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety. "We applaud the president and the administration for releasing this much anticipated proposal that includes a variety of standards for public consideration", they said.

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He said it was the administration's goal to come up with a "50-state solution that does not necessitate pre-empting California".

Other states that joined in the lawsuit were: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia. "The administration's announcement that it will relax future fuel economy (CAFE) standards is good news for consumers", Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, said in a statement.

President Donald Trump listens as Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks at a rally in Nashville, Tenn. on May 29, 2018. California received the exemption - the only state to do so - decades ago because it was already developing its own standards when federal rules were being written.

More immediately, the administration believes that locking in the 2020-21 standards will save up to 1,000 lives on the road a year, because under the change it is projecting more Americans will be able to purchase newer, safer cars.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, sought to stave off any dispute between California and the federal government that could split the USA auto market: "We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of American drivers". "Their own numbers don't even support what I consider the deceptive messaging they're trying to pass on to people".

The administration's rule aims to preempt California's Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver and argues that it should be pulled entirely. Now they're only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.

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