POTUS Proposes Car-Mileage Rollback; States Sue In Protest

Make Cars Great Again
Trump Administration Aims to Freeze Fuel Standards, End Tougher California Rules
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04 August, 2018

The Trump administration is also trying to stop California and other states from being able to impose their own, stricter fuel-efficiency standards. Those standards target a doubling of the fuel economy standards to 50 miles per gallon.

President Donald Trump had directed the rethink of the mileage regulations, saying in March 2017, "If the standards threatened auto jobs, then common-sense changes" were needed.

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

The waiver allows the state to set tougher tailpipe rules than the federal ones. Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said consumers could save between $3,200 per auto and $4,800 per truck over the life of the vehicle under that standard, and that they would save even more if gas prices go up.

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.

At press time, only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had responded to the proposed rules: "The proposal includes a range of options, and we will carefully evaluate how each aligns with FCA's goals of continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency and, at the same time, building vehicles customers want, at prices they can afford".

Federal data show the increased cost consumers would pay for the more efficient vehicles is dwarfed by the amount of money they would save at the pump, undermining the argument that drivers will stay in older, unsafe vehicles, advocates for the tougher rules say. At the moment, the state standard and the national one are the same-but if they diverged, automakers could end up making multiple versions of each auto to sell in different parts of the U.S. The Trump administration wants to take away California's right to set higher standards.

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Trump's move concerns a deal originally struck between Obama and many leading automakers in 2011 that envisioned a series of gradual increases through 2025, when average fuel economy would rise to 54.5 miles per gallon (4.3 litres per 100 kilometres).

Continuing its assault on federal rules created to protect the environment and combat global warming, the Trump administration has proposed weakening future fuel efficiency standards for American cars and trucks.

"To the Trump administration: make no mistake about it - we are ready to use every legal tool at our disposal to protect the current vehicle emission standards", Becerra said July 19, responding to reports the waiver might be revoked. Electric cars and trucks still account for a tiny fraction of those sold, and driver preference for SUVs, along with relatively low gas prices, have inhibited progress there. 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.

Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan.

The plan to revise pollution rules has been in the works for more than a year. They claimed the reduced standards would make new cars more affordable.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation said the increase in emission standards for cars built from 2021 to 2026 would hurt vehicle sales and improve safety of motorists across the country.

In 2012, when the standards were first adopted, cars were about 50 percent of new-vehicle sales.


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