The Trump administration's proposal instead freezes that figure at its 2020 level of 36.9 miles per gallon. A lot of what they're referring to is whether it's the national standard or a state-based standard, whether we allow states to create their own standards. California and other states are already suing the EPA.
While many carmakers have touted their development of more efficient cars, including electric vehicles, auto lobbyists were quick to get assurances from the Trump administration that the more stringent rules would be dismantled.
If California chooses to set stricter standards, other states can follow; 14 states and D.C. have adopted California's standards so far.
Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality. "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", the Auto Alliance and Global Automakers, two of the top auto lobbying groups, said in a statement.
The proposalargues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.The administration estimates that halting more ambitous fuel efficiency targets would save Americans thousands of dollars on every new vehicle purchased and avoid 1,000 road deaths a year.
"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 Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's acting administrator.
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"The administration's proposal to weaken these rules will cause the American people to breathe dirtier air and pay higher prices at the pump", said a joint statement from attorneys general from the states, including New York, Virginia and North Carolina. The logic is that because new-car prices will be lower, "more consumers will be able to afford newer and safer vehicles".
Becerra said California is "ready and willing" to talk with Trump administration regulators, but that previous talks have not been fruitful.
The administration said the freeze would boost US oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the 2030s, and argued it would prevent up to 1,000 traffic fatalities per year by reducing the price of new vehicles and so prompting people to buy newer, safer vehicles more quickly.
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. The company went on to say 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". Currently California has a special waiver under the Clean Air Act to enact stricter rules than those at the federal level.
"There is no precedent for revoking California's waiver", said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group in Washington. "They lead to the conclusion that safety will be impaired".
The Transportation Department says the proposal would shrink regulatory costs for automakers by $319 billion through 2029, reducing by more than $60 billion what General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles each would have been expected to spend to comply with the Obama-era rules.