Trump to Freeze Obama's Auto Mileage Rules, Rescind California's Emissions Authority

Vehicles travel along Highway 101 in Los Angeles

Schwarzenegger weighed in shortly after the Trump administration announced that it would move to roll back former President Obama's fuel economy and global warming standards for cars.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a set of new fuel economy and emissions standards on August 2, estimated to result in 12,700 fewer traffic deaths, make passenger cars more affordable, and give automakers more freedom to create cars based on consumer preference rather than government mandate. The administration also wants to limit states' rights to make their own standards, to which California and several other states have already said, We'll see you in court.

The lawsuit is being lead by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra who said "The Trump Administration has launched a brazen and unlawful attack, no matter how cloaked, on our nation's Clean Car Standards".

Environmental groups in ME, which is among the states that adopted California's tougher emissions requirements for new cars, and around the country quickly denounced the widely anticipated move. California is confident the administration has no legal authority to revoke the waiver it has been granted under the Clean Air Act allowing it to keep the Obama-era rules in place.

The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.

Healey, the attorney general for MA, said: "This absolutely has to be one of the most harmful and dumbest actions the EPA has taken".

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NHTSA and EPA are seeking public comment within 60 days on the range of regulatory options, including the Administration's "preferred alternative" that locks in model year 2020 standards through 2026.

The administration said the freeze would boost US oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the 2030s, and argued it would prevent up to 1,000 traffic fatalities per year by reducing the price of new vehicles and so prompting people to buy newer, safer vehicles more quickly.

"By 2030, the pollution equivalent of this rollback will be like firing up 30 coal power plants", Paul Cort, an attorney at the advocacy group Earthjustice, said in a statement. The proposal blames the continued increasing price of new cars, in part, on keeping up with stricter emissions rules, saying it will add an average of $2,430 to the price of new vehicles. "Can someone please inform the folks at the White House and our federal government of those facts?"

More immediately, the administration believes that locking in the 2020-21 standards will save up to 1,000 lives on the road a year, because under the change it is projecting more Americans will be able to purchase newer, safer cars.

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

Environmental and cost impacts of freezing the rules are said to be minimal.

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