New EPA fuel economy plan is sure to anger California

03 August, 2018, 18:14 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Jon Wong  Roadshow

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it would be freezing Obama-era fuel efficiency guidelines that required US vehicles to become significantly more fuel efficient. That ignores the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate since drivers have to buy less gas.

States that joined the lawsuit said the change would end up costing more money at the pump because vehicles won't go as far on a gallon of gas, and more misery for those suffering pollution-exacerbated maladies such as asthma.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards require automakers' cars to average about 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

Transport has become the largest sector source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, as cheap fuel has encouraged Americans to buy larger vehicles such as SUVs.

But in a statement published on The Wall Street Journal's website Thursday, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the Obama-era standards would "impose significant costs on American consumers and eliminate jobs".

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation said the increase in emission standards for cars built from 2021 to 2026 would hurt vehicle sales and improve safety of motorists across the country. "This program has sparked innovations resulting in cars and trucks that are cleaner, safer, faster and offer more comforts and luxuries, all while saving consumers billions", said David Friedman, vice president, advocacy, for Consumer Reports and the former interim head of NHTSA under the Obama administration.

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

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.

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He said it was the administration's goal to come up with a "50-state solution that does not necessitate pre-empting California".

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

"The National Auto Dealers Association estimates the federal standards demanded by California will add $3,000 to the cost of new motor vehicles by 2025, potentially pricing millions of low-income households out of the market for new cars", Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), said in astatement.

Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal. At least twelve other states and the District of Columbia follow California's rules.

The administration said that after cars reach the 2020 standard, additional gains are incremental and that the benefit to making roads safer outweighs any environmental risk. Also, and manufacturers are talking about kind of having two different standards. They are gearing up for a legal and political battle, particularly over the California waiver.

California has had the authority under the half-century-old Clean Air Act to set its own mileage standards to combat its chronic smog problem.

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