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Trump Administration Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standards For Cars

GM factory

The Trump Administration unveiled on Thursday proposed rulemaking for rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards for automakers, recommending the freezing of the mile-per-gallon standards for passenger cars and light trucks after model year 2020.

The proposed rulemaking of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is intended “to correct the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards to give the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement today.

NHTSA and EPA are seeking public comment within 60 days on the range of regulatory options, including the Administration’s “preferred alternative” that locks in model year 2020 standards through 2026.

“The joint proposal initiates a process to establish a new 50-state fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standard for passenger cars and light trucks covering MY 2021 through 2026,” said the Department of Transportation.

“The consequence of unreasonable fuel economy and CO2 standards: Increased vehicle prices keep consumers in older, dirtier, and less safe vehicles,” the EPA said in its proposal.

The rulemaking proposal also calls for one national standard and proposes to withdraw California’s Clean Air Act Preemption Waiver, which already drew angry reactions from California. Currently California has a special waiver under the Clean Air Act to enact stricter rules than those at the federal level.

Related: An Unexpected Windfall For U.S. Solar

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Twitter that “The #Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation's #CleanCarStandards. CA DOJ will use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today's national standards and reaffirm the facts and science behind them.”

New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and 19 other attorney generals issued a joint statement in which they said: “This decision upends decades of cooperative state and federal action to protect our residents. We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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