Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Trump administration proposes mileage rollback - 8/3/2018 1:01:52 AM

A view of traffic on the 710 Freeway in Long Beach Calif A view of traffic on the 710 Freeway in Long Beach Calif
Eleanor Moreno | 04 August, 2018, 21:26

Transportation industry researchers have found that fatalities do increase along with the total number of miles driven, and that future vehicle buyers are apt to drive more if their cars are more fuel-efficient because they would be cheaper to drive, but experts say they see no reason motorists would suddenly start driving their old cars more.

California and 18 other USA states promised yesterday to fight a Trump administration proposal to weaken fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks and force states into line, arguing the United States has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations. Transportation accounts for roughly 46 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions in New Jersey, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The administration's proposal, jointly published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers to almost double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of about 54 mpg by 2025.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the proposal "a brazen attack" on the state's clean air standards.

The prospect of an extended legal fight has discomfited automakers, who had asked the administration to relax the Obama-era rules but don't want to see the USA market split in two, with different models of cars required in blue and red states.

The proposal, released Thursday, would translate into an additional 500,000 barrels of US oil demand per day by the early 2030s, about 2 to 3 percent of projected consumption, according to government calculations. "It could save up to a thousand lives annually by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into newer, safer cars".

While that conclusion forms the basis of the Trump administration's reasoning on rolling back the pollution rule, it is in direct opposition to the Obama administration's analysis of the same rule, which found that improving fuel-economy standards would actually lead to about 100 fewer auto-related casualties. It may be hard to wrap your mind around the administration's reasons for rolling back fuel efficiency standards.

But Republican members of Congress support the Trump proposal. The existing standards the Trump administration wants to replace call for a steady increase to roughly 47 mpg by 2025.

"The fundamental question associated with this mandate is clear: who should decide what types of cars consumers should buy, consumers themselves or bureaucrats in Sacramento or Washington?" he asked.


There's a 60-day comment period on the proposed changes. "I'm standing up to defend Pennsylvania's right to make its own rules that protect citizens - which is now more important than ever".

Becerra said California is "ready and willing" to talk with Trump administration regulators, but that previous talks have not been fruitful.

The proposal to roll back anti-pollution efforts is in line with President Donald Trump's decision past year to abandon the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed to take steps to mitigate global warming.

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. If that were to happen, the plan could end up tangled in litigation for years, leaving automakers caught in regulatory uncertainty.

If the proposed rule becomes final, it could roil the auto industry as it prepares for new model years and weaken one of the federal government's chief weapons against climate change - regulating emissions from cars and other vehicles. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asserted that "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible", and former Obama administration climate change staffer Jody Freeman wrote that the rule "could be the most significant setback for American progress on climate change so far under President Trump".

"For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere", he said. And today, twenty state attorneys general announced their intent to sue the administration over the SAFE Vehicles Rule.

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers: "With today's release of the Administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin".

Speaking to a Senate panel Wednesday, Wheeler, the acting head of the EPA, said he would like to find a way to avoid a legal showdown with California. Auto manufacturers also have a big stake in this fight, as they're anxious about having to comply with different standards in multiple states.

At least 19 other states have said they will join California in the suit.

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