ibusinesslines.com August 20, 2018

Trump proposes U.S. car-mileage rollback; states sue in protest

03 August 2018, 09:27 | Justin Tyler

Greg Nash

California tees up effort to counter Trump’s car emissions rollback

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it would be freezing Obama-era fuel efficiency guidelines that required USA vehicles to become significantly more fuel efficient.

Alson said, according to his own calculations, the savings for someone buying a new auto with a loan was $158 a month, but the report acknowledges that consumers would "purchase somewhat more fuel", about five gallons a month during the first year of owning a vehicle. "It also relies on weird assumptions about consumer behavior to make its case on safety", California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols told Vox.

California and 18 other states said they would sue to stop the Trump administration proposal to weaken Obama-era federal fuel efficiency standards, arguing the United States has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations. The Trump nominee to lead the EPA's Superfund cleanup program once represented Dow Chemical in it's own giant chemical mess, a story explored in a New York Times profile this week.

Chet France, an EPA senior executive until his retirement in 2012, called the administration's contention that the mileage freeze would cause only a tiny increase in climate-changing exhaust emissions "bogus".

Officials said the change to fuel efficiency rules would offer a "much-needed time-out from further costly increases". The Trump administration's plan would freeze the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets at their 2020 numbers through 2026.

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.

Environmental groups in ME, which is among the states that adopted California's tougher emissions requirements for new cars, and around the country quickly denounced the widely anticipated move. "Maine wants cleaner cars nationwide because upwind pollution matters so much to us, so we've done our part by using the best clean vehicle standards available".

"For 48 years - since one of my heroes, then-governor Ronald Reagan, requested it- California has had a waiver from the federal government to clean our own air", Schwarzenegger said in a statement released on Twitter. 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.

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.

At a May meeting in the White House, auto firms appealed to Trump to tap the brakes on the administration's aggressive rollback plan.

One of the reasons given for the change was to reduce costs for consumers, allowing them to upgrade to newer, safer vehicles.

"The fleet of new vehicles today is the most fuel efficient ever, and they have gotten safer every year", said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less".

Now they're only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.

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