EPA Proposes Freezing Fuel Economy Standards At 35 MPG Until 2026

EPA Proposes Freezing Fuel Economy Standards At 35 MPG Until 2026

Kenneth Drake
August 4, 2018

Democrats opposed to the Trump administration's proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards have limited options to fight back in the halls and floor of Congress, but the one option they do have comes straight from the GOP deregulatory playbook. The 54 mile per gallon rule might sound high, but when automakers factor in government credits and other loop holes, experts said that the average will be closer to 36 miles per gallon.

"If the President thinks he can win this fight, he's out of his mind".

California and 16 other states filed suit over the fuel efficiency standards in May, anticipating the new regulation.

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

The EPA also took a step further in previous plans to challenge the California Air Resources Board's ability to set the state's standards for vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

The reversal of an Obama-era deal with automakers in 2012 will also withdraw a waiver California has under the Clean Air Act to exceed the national standards by requiring even more efficient cars.

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, called the proposed rule "a massive pileup of bad ideas" that would increase pollution and raise fuel costs for consumers.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says President Donald Trump is ¿out of his mind¿ for terminating Obama-era fuel emission standards while denying his home state of California the legal right to impose its own regulations.

In a 978-page document (pdf) released on August 2, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also proposing to retract a waiver issued to California in 2013, which enabled the state to set its own stricter emissions standards. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more risky has been disputed by transport experts. But as consumers spend more on gas, the costs would start to balloon.

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© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The administration's proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at 2020 levels, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving.

The administration wants to freeze a rule mandating that automakers work to make cars substantially more fuel efficient.

The greatest increase in greenhouse gas emissions would happen in the 2030s because electric cars will grow significantly by the 2040s, the Energy Innovation analysis found.

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 rollback has provoked outcry from environmental and health groups, as well as states who are pushing for cleaner vehicle fleets.

"For more than a decade, ME and the other states have used our rights under the Clean Air Act to limit tailpipe pollution beyond federal minimum requirements", Emmie Theberge, federal project director at NRCM, said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who represents Long Beach, noted this last week in a post on social media where he cast the White House's plan to freeze fuel efficiency standards as a "bitter misguided attack" on both California and the environment.

"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. The state needs to curtail carbon dioxide emissions with help from fuel efficiency, he said.

The difference between the two standards could amount to several hundred dollars a year in increased fuel expenditures for the typical motorist.