U.S. eyes freeze of fuel efficiency rules

Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules

Trump administration plans to lower car emissions standards

Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, a group that opposes the change to the fuel standards, calculates that the change will have the net effect of reducing the average real world fuel economy of American automobiles by about 8 miles per gallon in 2025 relative to what it would be if Obama era standards were kept in place.

Under the policy enacted by the Obama administration in 2012, the target would have risen progressively from 37mpg (6.4L/100km) in the 2020 model year to 46.5mpg (5.1L/100km) in 2025 model year. 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. But one fear is a protracted legal fight between the federal government and California and other progressive states. Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said consumers could save between $3,200 per auto and $4,800 per truck over the life of the vehicle under that standard, and that they would save even more if gas prices go up. The state, and others that have adopted the standard, have vowed to fight in court.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Twitter that "The #Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's #CleanCarStandards". 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.

States that joined the lawsuit said the change would end up costing more money at the pump because vehicles won't go as far on a gallon of gas, and more misery for those suffering pollution-exacerbated maladies such as asthma.

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.

Today the Trump administration unveiled its proposal to roll back the federal emissions standards set under President Barack Obama.

Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal.

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.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The administration's proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at 2020 levels, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving. Assuming, strictly for illustration purposes, a gasoline price of three dollars per gallon, that would result in an increased annual fuel expenditure of about $318.

Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups argue the move will harm the environment, however. That would price many buyers out of the new-vehicle market, forcing them to drive older, less-safe vehicles that pollute more, the administration says.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said much of the criticism was based on "false" news accounts of the proposal.

Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Heidi King said the average vehicle on the road in the U.S.is 12 years old and that the proposed rule would mean fewer accidents and injuries.

Besides, California - which is essentially now a foreign country - should not control the auto market and decide pollution and mileage standards for the rest of the country.

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". The rulemaking will set the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) and light-duty vehicle greenhouse emissions standards for light trucks and will set the greenhouse gas and mileage standards for 2021-2026.

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