U.S. eyes freeze of fuel efficiency rules

Make Cars Great Again

Make Cars Great Again

Under the Obama rule, by 2025 the average vehicle would go through roughly 401 gallons of gasoline in order to drive a typical distance of 15,000 miles in one year.

Seventeen states, including California, had filed a lawsuit in May challenging the EPA's decision in April to declare current us vehicle emission targets "not appropriate".

Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality.

The states that have adopted California's emission rules together make up about one third of the US auto market.

The state has struggled to rein in vehicle pollution. Why all of the sudden would the Trump administration - without the facts and the science behind them - feel like they can just yank those away?

Congressional Review Act resolutions dominated the early legislative action of the 115th Congress, as Republicans looked to roll back Obama-era regulations made final in the last few months of that administration.

The EPA and DOT will now give the public 60 days to provide comment and feedback on the rules before they are potentially introduced as law.

Now, the Trump administration is proposing to flatline fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emission standards from 2021 to 2026, locking models produced during those years to standards pegged to 2020.

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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".

Reforming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards is a huge tax cut for American auto buyers, up to a $7,200 per vehicle.

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. The impact of freezing those targets for six years, as the administration favors, would be enormous. The proposal would also push fuel consumption 20% higher in 2035 than it would have been otherwise. The firm projects the policy would cost the US economy $457 billion and cause 13,000 deaths by 2050, as air quality suffers. California and other states are already suing the EPA.

Those assertions are refuted by thousands of pages of data the Obama administration used in developing the regulation. As a result, most midsize sedans now get 30 or more miles per gallon.

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.

The rollback has provoked outcry from environmental and health groups, as well as states who are pushing for cleaner vehicle fleets. "They have failed before".

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. On Thursday, the White House also seemed to be stepping back a bit from the proposal. "Their own numbers don't even support what I consider the deceptive messaging they're trying to pass on to people".

Longstanding federal legislation has allowed California to set its own mileage standards given the choking smog that still sometimes blankets Los Angeles and other central and Southern California valley cities.

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