US: Trump administration seeks fuel standard roll back

US: Trump administration seeks fuel standard roll back
US: Trump administration seeks fuel standard roll back

The Donald Trump administration on Thursday formally unveiled a proposal to weaken Barack Obama-era regulations that sought to improve automobile fuel mileage standards.

The standards were designed to get automakers to create vehicles that were more fuel efficient and thereby cut emissions that are harmful to the environment. Automakers had until 2025 to create passenger vehicles that would average over 50 miles per gallon.

The plan, which was to take effect in 2020, was one of the former Barack president’s signature efforts to combat climate change.

But the Trump administration said its proposal, jointly announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would “give the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment.”

The agencies said they are seeking to freeze fuel standards after 2020, and are seeking public comment on the proposal. They said their plan would result in “thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries” compared to the Obama-era plan.

It is unclear what science the claim is based on.

“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,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. “More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner.”

In addition to rolling back fuel standards, the plan would challenge the ability of states to set tighter tailpipe emission standards — a move that is likely to set off a legal battle with jurisdictions that want to do so, including the nation’s largest automobile market: California.

Following the announcement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Twitter the state will “do what’s necessary to hold this Administration accountable!”

The state’s Justice Department “will use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today’s national standards and reaffirm the facts and science behind them,” Becerra said.