Trump administration to freeze fuel efficiency requirements

03 August, 2018, 18:15 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • 2018-chevrolet-tahoe-rst-62

In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the EPA and Transportation Department would freeze the standards at 2020 levels through 2026.

But there's enough lead time, with their freezing it at 2020 levels.

Their unease was reflected in a statement released by Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which urged negotiations between 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 America's drivers". A lot of what they're referring to is whether it's the national standard or a state-based standard, whether we allow states to create their own standards. California and 18 other states that follow the same guidelines have promised to sue.

"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.

The EPA and NHTSA are giving the public 60 days to provide feedback to the new proposal.

The EPA said it wants a "50-state fuel economy" system and has claimed the reversal will have "negligible environmental impacts on air quality" and even result in thousands fewer deaths on the roads each year.

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

The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board said in June that it would review a number of the changes made under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, including the plan to reduce vehicle efficiency standards.

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Proposed fuel economy rules won't be as strict as those set out in 2012.

Attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia say they'll go to court to stop a proposed rollback in mileage standards.

As auto manufacturers boosted fuel economy across their fleets, incremental improvements have become more costly and complicated while returns have diminished, the agencies say.

The reversal of an Obama-era deal with automakers in 2012 will also withdraw a waiver California has under the Clean Air Act to exceed the national standards by requiring even more efficient cars.

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.

Democrats hope to make any rollback of the emissions rules a key part of November's midterm elections, when they will try to regain control of one or both chambers of Congress. Republicans in states with links to the auto industry may counter that the administration is working to ensure automakers can make more profitable, larger vehicles, including fuel-thirsty pickups and SUVs. That ignores the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate since drivers have to buy less gas.

"There is no precedent for revoking California's waiver", said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group in Washington. And when they fail they are prohibitively expensive to fix and often require someone akin to a rocket scientist to troubleshoot.

"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.

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