Monday, 22 October, 2018

Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards

Report: Trump admin has plan to end California’s emissions standards power Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards
Frank Williams | 26 July, 2018, 20:12

Carper said a leaked earlier draft showed that under the proposal, USA vehicles would use 206 billion gallons of gasoline more than expected from 2020 to 2050 if the standards remained unchanged. Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board fined Marten Logistics $100,000 and Roadrunner Transportation Systems over $50,000 for failing to verify that trucks hired or dispatched were compliant with the state's truck emissions regulations.

"Congress didn't intend for California to set national fuel economy standards", said Steve Milloy, a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, a group critical of climate science.

Government regulators also estimate the regulation, which is called the "Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient" (SAFE) Vehicles rule, will reduce traffic deaths, supposedly from cars being made lighter to meet the fuel economy requirements, as well reduce the cost of new vehicles. The EPA and the federal transportation department will unveil a proposed legislation for the state, which will then be open for debate, before the agency makes a decision.

Messages seeking comment from OMB, NHTSA and the EPA were not immediately returned.

California and other states have big stakes in Trump's decision and subsequent litigation, as do US and foreign automakers. Three other states, Washington, New Mexico and Pennsylvania have adopted similar rules. That gives them clout in influencing how the automakers design and market their vehicles, including low-and-zero emission models, such as electric cars.

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In addition, eliminating California's electric vehicle mandate might hurt automakers like Tesla Inc and General Motors, both companies are investing billions in battery-powered vehicles. Under guidelines set up by the Obama Administration, those standards aimed to increase fuel economy averages to around 36 mpg for new cars in real-world driving conditions by 2025.

California will fight the rules change, according to Dan Sperling of the state's Air Resources Board.

The rules have become part of California's environmental identity, as well as part of its efforts to clean the air in Los Angeles and other heavily polluted areas. California and environmentalists have previously criticized that analysis. The waiver was granted at a time when California suffered some of the worst smog problems in the country. Although California argues its rules are not fuel economy standards in word or practice, "they are very much related to fuel economy", Holmstead said. "It has never been fully litigated".

This is wild. California is among the toughest auto emissions regulators in the country. But neither of those cases was heard in USA appeals courts or the Supreme Court, meaning they are unlikely to have much bearing on any future Supreme Court deliberations. So California's standards are now in sync with the federal government's.

For its part, the American Trucking Associations said that although the current Trump administration moves are targeting passenger cars, it will be keeping an eye for new developments that affect the trucking industry.

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