Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Trump administration plans to lower auto emissions standards

Trump administration plans to lower auto emissions standards

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump pastor: Trump is "the most pro-black" president I've ever seen Trump renews calls for interview with Mueller: report CNN's Acosta: Hannity is "injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream" MORE for his administration's plan to strip California of its ability to determine its own vehicle regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA says that current fuel economy standards could add more than $2,000 to the cost of a new vehicle, leading drivers to hold onto their older, less safe vehicles rather than upgrade to newer machines. The timeline could then align with the finalization of the fuel efficiency changes, as the proposed rule still needs to work its way through a lengthy public comment process.

Becerra and attorneys general from 16 other states sued in May to stop the EPA from scrapping standards that would have required vehicles by 2025 to achieve 36 miles per gallon (58 kilometers per gallon) in real-world driving, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) over the existing standards.

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

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration's proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook. The administration also believes the change will shave about 7 or 8 percent off the cost of a new auto in the coming years, a savings of around $2,300.

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.

The proposal represents an abrupt reversal of the findings that the government reached under Obama, when regulators argued that requiring more fuel efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety.

But critics of the proposal note that the auto industry had a stretch of strong sales from 2010 to 2017, with several years seeing record sales, because consumers want more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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"This has to be absolutely one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that the EPA has taken", said Healey of MA, one of the attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia objecting to the change.

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.

More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 percent of the country's new-vehicle market. And with President Donald Trump in the White House, the group would need a veto-proof majority to prevent the changes from going forward, should they actually receive and win a floor vote.

Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal.

The rollback would undermine efforts by California and several other states to meet commitments the US made in the Paris agreement on climate change. They claimed the reduced standards would make new cars more affordable.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said the rollback is "completely unacceptable". He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California. Now they're only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.

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