Trump proposes car-mileage rollback; states sue in protest

Trump team wants to roll back Obama-era mileage standards

Under the Obama administration's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, new cars sold in the US must average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025.

The proposal also eliminates California's ability to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emissions-vehicle requirements, which would force it to live with the same rules that apply to every other state.

In a separate move to unwind California's power to set the pace of auto emissions requirements, the proposal also asserts that a 1975 law prohibits states from setting their own greenhouse gas limits, a view two federal district judges have already rejected. Get the full story in the video above.

Sean Donahue is a lawyer representing the Environmental Defense Fund, which, along with other environmental groups, sued the EPA in May, after then-chief administrator Scott Pruitt announced that Washington would revisit the emissions rules.

The US government on Thursday proposed weakening fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, referred to as the clean vehicle rule.

It's costly for companies to design and build vehicles for California and states that follow its rules, and a different set for the rest of the country.

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The plan to revise pollution rules has been in the works for more than a year.

Heidi King, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, said the administration is excited about the idea of getting more modern cars on the road to replace older, less efficient ones. Instead, the Trump administration would keep it below 40 miles per gallon. That would allow more people to buy cars with enhanced safety features, the government said.

But the Trump administration has consistently criticized the policy as bad for the vehicle industry.

The auto industry, which has often baulked at the higher costs associated with the tougher USA standards, strongly backs a national standard that could be negotiated between Washington and California. "More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to USA roads", Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement.

That calculation could change next year depending on the outcome of the November midterm election.

The administration's proposal asserts that "attempting to solve climate change, even in part" is "fundamentally different" from the Clean Air Act's "original goal of addressing smog-related air quality problems".

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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".

Myron Ebell, a senior energy scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Trump EPA transition chair, cheered the Trump administration's proposed rule change on Thursday. "We have been steadily increasing the standards... for nearly a decade", said EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum on a call with reporters Thursday.

California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, called the proposal "reckless".

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. 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.

"As global automakers, they will continue to develop high-efficiency clean technology", said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

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President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is "looking into" the idea , declaring it " doesn't seem to make much sense! ". A 3-D printed gun's quality often depends on the sophistication of the printer and the quality of the plastic used.

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