Trump Administration Proposes Freezing Obama-Era Vehicle Fuel Economy Requirements

Cristina Cross
August 3, 2018

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The Trump administration, taking aim at one of former President Barack Obama's signature environmental achievements, is proposing to freeze vehicle fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level and unwind California's authority to limit tailpipe emissions in the state. Automakers, who had asked to be relieved of some of the mandates, have expressed misgivings about having to accommodate a patchwork of federal and state standards.

The administration's proposal asserts that "attempting to solve climate change, even in part" is "fundamentally different" from the Clean Air Act's "original objective of addressing smog-related air quality problems".

Eighteen states - including New York, New Jersey and California - sued the Trump administration in May to stop it from rolling back the fuel standards, arguing that they should be able to develop regulations to curb pollution.

The state has struggled to rein in vehicle pollution.

It goes without saying what he thought of Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement. It would also worsen air quality problems in Southern California and other areas where officials are already struggling to clean smog and ease rates of asthma and other illnesses. With today's release of the Administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin. He suggested states rights conservatives are hypocrites for approving the plan. But Trump's EPA said the efficiency rules drive up vehicle prices, keeping many people in older, less safe cars and trucks.

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"California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible", Governor Edmund Brown, a Democrat, said in a news release on Thursday.

The Trump proposal would freeze standards at 2020 levels when vehicles will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon (48 kilometers per gallon) in real-world driving. This, Chao and Wheeler argued, "strikes the appropriate regulatory balance between vehicle improvements, environmental benefits and safety".

"If the United States emissions dropped to zero-that means all electrical generation emissions, all transportation emissions, all manufacturing emissions-if they all went to zero, it would be very hard to see that signal in the global temperature even by the year 2100". But as consumers spend more on gas, the costs would start to balloon.

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 existing federal fuel economy targets, which were championed by California, ensure automakers keep moving toward higher efficiency vehicles, as other nations also require.

The administration also contends that hiking USA oil consumption by 2 to 3 percent over forecast levels would have a minimal impact on the environment, boosting global average temperature by just "3/1000th of a degree Celsius by 2100".

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