Trump Administration Looks To Remove California's National Sway Over Vehicle Emissions

05 August, 2018, 04:14 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Schwarzenegger Goes After Trump for Ending Decades Old Environmental Measure

"The plan ... would roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers to almost double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of about 54 miles per gallon by 2025".

Electric vehicles could be a major source of electricity demand for utilities, but the Trump administration's vehicle efficiency rollback could slow their growth, particularly in their biggest market - California.

Industry experts agree. In his May testimony before Congress, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers president Mitch Bainwol urged the administration to "incorporate California" and all other states into "One National Program" in order to avoid a "regulatory nightmare" for manufacturers, regulators, and consumers. "Under his reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage, and breathe dirtier air".

The proposal would freeze rules requiring automakers to build cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles, and unravel one of President Barack Obama's signature policies to combat global warming.

Trump's decision to challenge California's authority to regulate vehicle emissions upends decades of federal policy that allowed the most populous and richest US state to combat air pollution that particularly afflicts Los Angeles.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state would "use every legal tool at its disposal" to defend the tougher rules.

"The EPA has handed decision making over to the fossil fuel lobbyists ... the flat-Earthers, the climate change deniers", said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. 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. Transportation is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions went up in 2016, the most recent data available.

Easing requirements that cars be more fuel efficient should make them both cheaper and safer, getting vehicles with the latest safety developments in the hands of consumers, officials said. Leading a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, Governor Brown, Attorney General Becerra, and CARB sued the EPA on May 1, 2018 over the EPA's April 13th action.

"The Trump administration just proposed rolling back limits on auto pollution". That rule - hammered out with states, the EPA, and auto makers - called for increasing fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for model years 2022 through 2025.

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While the chief executives of auto companies a year ago asked Trump to loosen the Obama-era rules, they have since asked him not to pull them as far back as he has sought to do in Thursday's proposal.

While that conclusion forms the basis of the Trump administration's reasoning on rolling back the pollution rule, it is in direct opposition to the Obama administration's analysis of the same rule, which found that improving fuel-economy standards would actually lead to about 100 fewer auto-related casualties.

A U.S. Department of Transportation spokesperson calls the government's estimate of job losses "rough approximations". "Can someone please inform the folks at the White House and our federal government of those facts?"

The Obama administration had planned to keep toughening fuel requirements through 2026, saying those and other regulations on vehicles would save 40,000 lives annually through cleaner air. "We are delivering on President Trump's promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards", said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

The administration also projects the efficiency rules would drive up the price of cars enough to push some buyers out of the market, leaving them to remain in older vehicles lacking life-saving new technologies like assisted braking and blind spot warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed freezing national standards at 2020 levels on cars and light trucks through 2026.

Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal. The affordability argument also ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a vehicle, opponents of the rollbacks said.

The ability of other states to adopt California standards, as long as they are as or more stringent than federal standards, is written into the CAA Section 177.

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