California vows to fight Trump plan to freeze fuel economy rules

During a visit to Detroit previous year, President Trump announced his administration would assess and correct the current vehicle fuel-economy standards, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).

Implementing that "50-state solution" is nearly certain to come into conflict with California's statewide mileage requirements, which are stricter than the federal government's. In scrapping it, the administration is relying on disputed modeling that projects vehicles that get more miles to the gallon would lead motorists to drive more frequently, thus increasing the number of traffic fatalities.

Automakers view the new proposal as a starting point for negotiations with California, with hopes of keeping one fuel efficiency standard for the entire nation.

California and 18 other USA states promised yesterday to fight a Trump administration proposal to weaken fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks and force states into line, arguing the United States has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations. And the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that greenhouse gases should be regulated like any other pollutant coming from cars.

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 May, California joined 16 other states in a lawsuit against the EPA to protect the fuel-efficiency standards, arguing that striking them violates the Clean Air Act.

The industry's chief argument, mirrored by administration officials on Thursday, is that the Obama-era standards are a relic of a different time, when the USA was deeply reliant on foreign oil and gasoline to fuel its vehicles.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday called the Trump administration proposals "an assault on the health of Americans everywhere". "It could save up to a thousand lives annually by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into newer, safer cars".

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The proposal also claims other benefits of freezing fuel economy standards at 2020 levels, including a reduction of "societal costs" by $500 billion and savings of $253 billion from lower new vehicle prices.

"The Trump Administration should focus on reducing gun violence, not putting untraceable 3D printed "ghost" guns in the hands of risky criminals both at home and overseas". It may be hard to wrap your mind around the administration's reasons for rolling back fuel efficiency standards.

Republican lawmakers cheered the proposal. "President Trump is trying to carjack our clean-car standards". John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Instead, the Trump administration would keep it below 40 miles per gallon. "The Administration's latest move opens the door to an alarming increase in illegal firearms and displays a menacing disregard for public safety and national security". It will then consider those comments and issue a final version of the rule, most likely this year. Auto manufacturers have fretted that a rollback, while California retains its waiver, would split the market, causing confusion and forcing companies to continue producing a separate set of cars for states following California's rules.

While the chief executives of auto companies a year ago asked Trump to loosen the Obama-era rules, they have since asked him not to pull them as far back as he has sought to do in Thursday's proposal.

The administration proposal also would block the many other states that use California standards from moving forward. If that were to happen, the plan could end up tangled in litigation for years, leaving automakers caught in regulatory uncertainty.

Pollution from cars, trucks and other on-road vehicles is the California's single-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to state data. If the states win, it could split the national auto market in two - an outcome that automakers have called a worst-case scenario.

But Becerra, the California attorney general, said the EPA is rewriting its own detailed analysis from 2012 and that his state is set to exceed its goal of electric vehicles.

Current federal fuel efficiency standards established by the Obama Administration brought federal standards on par with those set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), thereby creating the current One National Program. Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said on Wednesday he would welcome a deal between the industry and states. "It's my goal to come up with a 50-state solution that does not necessitate pre-empting California".

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