Administration To Toss Obama-Era EPA Car Regs

Construction of the Carty Generating Station as seen in August 2015

In 2012, President Barack Obama announced the greenhouse reduction and fuel efficiency rules, called the CAFE standards, which require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it completed a review that will affect vehicles for model years 2022-2025 but it did not specify details on new standards, which it said would be forthcoming.

Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt has come under scrutiny for using a loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act to give hefty raises to two of his favorite aides - after he was denied a request from the White House. "Obama's EPA cut the midterm evaluation (MTE) process [a review of how well the auto makers were transitioning to the new standards] short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high".

"So, to ensure ongoing fuel economy improvement, the wisest course of action is to keep new vehicles affordable so more consumers can replace an older auto with a new vehicle that uses much less fuel", the group stated.

California officials see the current fuel-economy targets as an essential element of their plan to combat climate change, and they show no sign of going along with the federal effort to rollback fuel-economy rules.

The ethics official said the arrangement was consistent with federal ethics regulations because Pruitt paid "market value" for it. The California waiver is still being re-examined by the EPA under Pruitt's leadership.

Nichols added that the state is willing to "vigorously defend the existing clean vehicle standards". Instead, it will try to reach an agreement with California on a single national standard. A dozen other states followed California's lead, but automakers want only one national standard.

On the other hand, John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, states, "We appreciate the EPA's data-driven process in arriving at its final determination that adjustments to the national GHG program are needed".

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In a statement, the Alliance to Save Energy said that the weakening of the CAFE standards would "mean higher fuel costs for individuals and businesses, more greenhouse gas emissions and sacrificing our energy security".

"The rollback of US emissions and fuel economy standards, which come as no surprise, will not suddenly prompt automakers to abandon all plans for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles", said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader.

They argued that with Americans purchasing bigger cars and with low fuel prices, the greenhouse gas quality for cars manufactured between the period of 2022 & 2025 are far too harsh, and unrealistic.

The emissions standards introduced by the Obama administration - in part as a condition of the post-financial crash auto industry bailout engineered by the Obama White House - were widely credited as a key plank in U.S. efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, drive the market for electric vehicles, and honour the goals of the Paris Agreement.

As of writing, auto manufacturers haven't commented on the EPA's announcement.

Trump has not identified a replacement for Pruitt should he decide to fire him, multiple senior officials said, and he remains enthusiastic about the progress his EPA has made toward deregulation and environmental rollbacks.

The EPA said that it is a practical decision to reverse Obama's emission rules primarily because auto owners are forced to purchase more expensive vehicles.

The Auto Alliance and the Association of Global Automakers contacted Trump just after his inauguration past year to push for changing the emissions rules, and Trump agreed to meet with them shortly after. Instead, the Trump administration is steering us onto a dead end road.

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