Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

FUEL EFFICIENCY: Trump proposes rollback of Obama's clean vehicle rules

Trump Administration EPA moves to scrap Obama-era clean car rules and sets up fight with California
Doris Mccormick | 03 August, 2018, 21:24

The Trump administration is proposing to freeze fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in 2020, a move that will ease rules for auto makers and also likely intensify a legal fight with California. The Trump administration released plans to freeze vehicle mileage goals and do away with California's right to set its own, more stringent emissions rules. Standards would then remain at those levels through 2026.

The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.

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". Letting one state make decisions for people in other states makes a bad program even worse, especially since the state is California, which has been pursuing an anti-car agenda for decades.

The proposal would freeze an effort by the Obama administration meant to promote auto fuel efficiency and curb tailpipe emissions of climate-changing pollutants. That ignores the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate since drivers have to buy less gas.

In the years before California's extremely strict clean air rules, there were smog-filled skies that were fairly common.

"They don't offer any meaningful example of what has changed so dramatically" to warrant the reversal, said Jeff Alson, who until this spring was a senior engineer in the EPA's transportation and air quality office.

The administration's proposal would freeze miles-per-gallon targets in 2020. Jerry Brown said in a statement that the state "will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible".

"The earth is not flat, and climate change is real", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, as he connected global warming to the deadly wildfires burning out of control throughout the state.

Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign dismissed the Trump administration's arguments as a "parade of concocted horrors".

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But advocates criticised the weakening of environmental rules.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed concerns, pointing out that the standards are only a proposal and subject to a comment period.

"What the EPA released was a proposed rule not a final rule", she told a White House briefing.

Thirteen states, plus Washington, DC, have adopted California's standards.

Gina McCarthy, thes EPA administrator under Obama, said the reversal of these standards "run contrary to sound science and the law".

During an earnings conference call last week, General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra repeatedly emphasised the need for a single national standard on fuel economy. "More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment".

Once finalized, Democrats, led by top members on the Environment and Public Works Committee, plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the Trump administration's fuel efficiency strategy, Sen.

GM and other carmakers have sharply criticised the proposed policy.

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