States going to court to challenge mileage rule

Jan Cross
August 4, 2018

Schwarzenegger and Trump have repeatedly criticized each other over the years, including during Trump's presidency.

- The Trump administration is proposing to roll back Obama-era mileage standards that were created to make cars more fuel efficient and reduce pollution and California Democrats are vowing to fight back. The proposal also eliminates California's ability to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emissions-vehicle requirements, which would force it to live with the same rules that apply to every other state.

Activists warn that this will be bad for both consumers and the planet. But as consumers spend more on gas, the costs would start to balloon. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more unsafe has been disputed by transport experts. Under the Obama administration, automakers were required to reach a fleetwide average fuel economy for all cars and light trucks of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday called the Trump administration proposals "an assault on the health of Americans everywhere".

Those states have said they'll sue to keep their emissions standards on the books.

As vehicle manufacturers boosted fuel economy across their fleets, incremental improvements have become more costly and complicated while returns have diminished, the agencies say. That argument remained on the EPA's website Thursday. The preferred option is freezing fuel economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than maintaining the year-over-year increases that automakers agreed to under President Obama. 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.

Setting up a showdown with California, the Trump administration on Thursday announced a plan to revoke a signature Obama-era environmental regulation.

But private transportation experts say there are so many factors involved that the 1,000 lives saved figure is questionable.

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Trump administration unveils plan to weaken Obama-era emissions standards for cars
The states that have adopted California's emission rules together make up about one third of the US auto market. Jerry Brown said in a statement that the state "will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible".

The Union of Concerned Scientists said the rollback is "completely unacceptable".

During the eight years of the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged automakers to meet increasingly tougher fuel economy standards.

"If the President thinks he can win this fight, he's out of his mind".

At a May meeting in the White House, auto firms appealed to Trump to tap the brakes on the administration's aggressive rollback plan.

In their view, the proposed changes will increase daily fuel consumption rise by two to three per cent, but have "no noticeable impact" on smog-forming or other toxic air pollutants. For example, he notes that families that need larger vehicles like minivans and SUVs are finding more fuel efficient models than were available a decade ago. California and about a dozen states that follow its rules account for about a third of all the passenger vehicles sold in the United States.

"I'm sure you've all heard the big news that we're going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars in America again", Trumptold a crowd in Detroit on March 15, 2017.

Representatives of the US auto industry praised the administration's proposal, even as some automakers privately have expressed unease at the prospect of abrupt changes in fuel standards and having to meet different standards in different states. 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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