Trump team wants to roll back Obama-era mileage standards

Vehicles travel along Highway 101 in Los Angeles

The EPA says that current fuel economy standards could add more than $2,000 to the cost of a new vehicle, leading drivers to hold onto their older, less safe vehicles rather than upgrade to newer machines.

States that joined the lawsuit said the change would end up costing more money at the pump because vehicles won't go as far on a gallon of gas, and more misery for those suffering pollution-exacerbated maladies such as asthma. The standards called for automakers to reach a fleet average of about 54 miles per gallons by 2025; the new standard is about 37 miles per gallon after 2021.

Nineteen US states have announced plans to sue the Trump administration over its "reckless and illegal plan" to rollback Obama-era clean vehicle rules.

"The law requires fuel economy standards in order to save fuel, and yet this proposal does just the exact opposite", said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.

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"The source of the safety benefits from the analysis for this proposed rule is getting folks into affordable, more fuel-efficient, cleaner, safer cars", King told reporters.

When the Trump administration on Thursday proposed freezing fuel efficiency standards for new cars in 2020, it claimed the move would save consumers money on new cars and lead to fewer deaths on the road.

Citing safety, the Trump administration on Thursday proposed rolling back car-mileage standards, backing away from years of government efforts to cut Americans' trips to the gas station and reduce unhealthy, climate-changing tailpipe emissions. "We applaud the president and the administration for releasing this much anticipated proposal that includes a variety of standards for public consideration", they said.

Becerra said California is "ready and willing" to talk with Trump administration regulators, but that previous talks have not been fruitful. Yet for President Donald Trump, who's prioritized eliminating regulations, the auto rules represent a grand prize. "We have been steadily increasing the standards... for nearly a decade", said EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum on a call with reporters Thursday.

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

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the administration is "driving our auto future in reverse".

But private transportation experts say there are so many factors involved that the 1,000-lives figure is questionable. The proportion of passengers killed in cars that are older than 18 years is nearly double that of cars that are newer than three years, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. Several other states followed California's guidelines, creating a fragmented set of standards across the country.

The newly proposed CAFE standards are thus good news to consumers, according to astatement from Myron Ebell, the director of CEI's Center for Energy and Environment. The affordability argument also ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a auto, opponents of the rollbacks said. They are gearing up for a legal and political battle, particularly over the California waiver. "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 America's drivers".

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