Trump administration officials have fought for weeks behind the scenes over the details of the how to relax Obama-era standards. The standards called for automakers to reach a fleet average of about 54 miles per gallons by 2025; the new standard is about 37 miles per gallon after 2021.
The Trump administration on Thursday announced plans to freeze fuel efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks through 2026 - a massive regulatory rollback likely to create potential upheaval in the nation's automotive market.
"The EPA has handed decision making over to the fossil fuel lobbyists. the flat-Earthers, the climate change deniers", said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
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. But now, the state's emissions standards are in jeopardy.
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. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more unsafe has been disputed by transport experts.
The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision previous year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.More news: Trump rallying support for Florida GOP congressman
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The attorneys general, as well as a wide range of environmental groups, lashed out at the proposal introduced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A lower emission standard would make it easier for them to make the vehicles more drivers want. "More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment".
And so what the Trump this is also doing, along with freezing the CAFE standards, is limiting the extent to which states can impose regulations on other states and on manufacturers.
Two former EPA mileage officials said the administration's proposal departed from years of findings on fuel efficiency, auto safety, exhaust emissions and costs.
The proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at levels mandated by the Obama administration for 2020, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving.
The proposed rule acknowledges that it would result in a 2 percent to 3 percent increase in fuel consumption, the equivalent of about half a million barrels of oil per day, and a small increase in global average temperature and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California.
Democrats hope to make any rollback of the emissions rules a key part of midterm elections in November, when they will be seeking to try to regain control of one or both chambers of Congress.