Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency rules

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt

He went on to call the previous determination "wrong".

Ceres: "Rolling back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and emissions standards will undermine the global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry. Given the current trend of USA auto buyers, who have generally ignored fuel-efficiency in favor of larger, more powerful vehicles, that scenario might resonate with auto shoppers". From the 1970s through the early 2000s, most automakers fitted additional gear aimed at cutting tailpipe emissions to some cars sold in California. "It would be wasteful to discard those consumer savings, but EPA now appears poised to do just that". "Backing off now is irresponsible and unwarranted". "Unfortunately, that's exactly what Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA has been all about".

"It means cars won't be as efficient". That came after adjustments for inflation saw the civil penalty rise from $5.50 to $14 from the 2019 model year, something the auto industry claimed could increase costs by $1bn each year.

California previously intervened in a lawsuit filed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers that challenged the U.S. EPA's January 2017 determination that the vehicle emission standards for years 2022 to 2025 are feasible. "There's no good reason for these standards to be sabotaged".

At the heart of the controversy is the Obama Administration's attempt to finish up the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) process for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards. This is not a technical assessment, it is a move to demolish the nation's clean auto program.

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The uncertainty of a long legal battle would create a compliance nightmare for automakers, with even medium-term emissions regulations up in the air. "Although changing, today, vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Sierra sell especially well in North American, so the prospect of looser emissions rules here in the U.S. will likely to benefit those who buy and sell full-size pickups and truck-based SUVs, vehicles sold on the promise of size, power, towing capability and off-road ability".

The Trump Administration wants to eliminate the California waiver and adopt one national mileage standard.

Growth Energy: "For several years, Growth Energy has strongly emphasized the fact that fuels and engines are a system and that high-octane fuels-such as ethanol blends like E25-E30-should be part of this discussion". The fallout, she wrote, could include higher vehicle prices, difficulty selling cars across state lines, and possibly more older, higher polluting cars being used as consumers get discouraged from buying new models.

Other states also follow rules set by California and together account for more than a third of the vehicles sold in the U.S. now state and federal standards are the same.

California has been able to impose stricter standards for vehicle emissions of certain pollutants than federal requirements thanks to a Clean Air Act waiver granted previously by EPA.

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In a worse-case scenario, though, the EPA could set such disparate targets from what California is sticking to that the automakers might face two distinct markets.

The clash underscores some of the contradictions of Pruitt's talk of "cooperative federalism", a phrase he uses to justify weakening federal standards to shift environmental regulation to the states.

"EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford - while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars", Mr Pruitt wrote.

"This was the right decision, and we support the administration for pursuing a data-driven effort and a single national program as it works to finalize future standards", said the industry group representing Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and others.

Former EPA administrator Carol Browner, who helped forge the initial carbon thresholds for cars and light trucks in 2009 while serving in the Obama White House, said in an interview that the reversal simply does not make sense.

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She concluded her speech with the simple but powerful statement, 'Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job'.

The EPA never implemented the Clean Power Plan, the signature Obama-era rule to reduce emissions from the utility sector.

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