© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The administration's proposal would freeze US 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. It says keeping the Obama-era standards in place would increase the cost of an average vehicle by $2,340, prompting consumers to hold back in buying newer, safer vehicles and end up aging the nation's fleet of cars on the road.
Reforming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards is a huge tax cut for American auto buyers, up to a $7,200 per vehicle. Currently California has a special waiver under the Clean Air Act to enact stricter rules than those at the federal level.
The EPA contended in a press release on Thursday that the current Obama-era gas mileage standards have been a factor in the rising cost of cars to an average of $35,000, which makes purchasing a new vehicle unaffordable for many Americans.
Heidi King, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the freeze would reduce highway deaths by 1,000 per year 'by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into the newer, safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars'. The timeline could then align with the finalization of the fuel efficiency changes, as the proposed rule still needs to work its way through a lengthy public comment process.
The Trump administration today formally proposed weakening Obama-era clean vehicle rules and pre-empting states from setting tougher standards.
Gina McCarthy, thes EPA administrator under Obama, said the reversal of these standards "run contrary to sound science and the law".
But the Trump administration has consistently criticized the policy as bad for the auto industry.
"For an administration that is happy to let states set their own rules when it comes to weakening environmental protection, it's the height of hypocrisy to deny California and a dozen other states their right to protect their people from global warming", Becker said in a statement.
California - which is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals and building strong coalitions of partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States and around the globe - will convene the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September.
"This has to be absolutely one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that the EPA has taken", said Healey of MA, one of the attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia objecting to the change.
"The administration's proposal goes beyond a simple rollback".
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.
All of this could be somewhat mitigated if California can set stronger standards; at the moment, the state and federal standard are the same.
Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality. Letting one state make decisions for people in other states makes a bad program even worse, especially since the state is California, which has been pursuing an anti-car agenda for decades.
"Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we're not giving that up to President Trump without a fight", Feinstein said.
Now they're only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.