News Just now U.S. government proposes more lenient fuel economy targets

Make Cars Great Again

During the eight years of the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged automakers to meet increasingly tougher fuel economy standards. Under the Obama plan, the fleetwide fuel economy would have risen gradually to roughly 47 mpg by 2025.

Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump called for a rollback, urging "common sense changes" if the mileage requirements threatened auto industry jobs.

"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

'For 48 years-since one of my heroes, then-governor Ronald Reagan, requested it-California has had a waiver from the federal government to clean our own air, ' the former governor tweeted on Thursday. Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said consumers could save between $3,200 per auto and $4,800 per truck over the life of the vehicle under that standard, and that they would save even more if gas prices go up.

The reversal of an Obama-era deal with automakers in 2012 will also withdraw a waiver California has under the Clean Air Act to exceed the national standards by requiring even more efficient cars. The government also said the proposal will save consumers $2,340 (£1,796 / €2,017) since automakers won't have to increase prices to offset the costs of building more efficient vehicles.

More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 percent of the country's new-vehicle market.

Longstanding federal legislation has allowed California to set its own mileage standards given the choking smog that still sometimes blankets Los Angeles and other central and Southern California valley cities. The plunge in natural gas prices and other market forces have steadily lowered the climate impact of utilities, but transportation is proving more stubborn. It's got "everything to do with just trying to turn over the fleet ... and get more clean and safe cars on the road", EPA assistant administrator Bill Wehrum said.

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The proposal outlined Thursday would eliminate the sharp increase in fuel-economy requirements adopted under the Obama administration in collaboration with California. Electric cars and trucks still account for a tiny fraction of those sold, and driver preference for SUVs, along with relatively low gas prices, have inhibited progress there.

The rollback has provoked outcry from environmental and health groups, as well as states who are pushing for cleaner vehicle fleets. The Trump administration released plans to freeze vehicle mileage goals and do away with California's right to set its own, more stringent emissions rules.

California joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in suing the EPA in May, asking the court to review the EPA's proposed actions. It also claims that lower new vehicle prices would mean more folks buying them and moving out of older, less safe cars.

The statement said that the two agencies were announcing "a joint proposal to update the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards to give consumers greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles, while continuing to protect the environment".

The government believes freezing the current 2020 standards until 2026 will produce several benefits with few drawbacks.

"I'm sure you've all heard the big news that we're going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars in America again", Trumptold a crowd in Detroit on March 15, 2017.

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