New EPA fuel economy plan is sure to anger California


The Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement that relaxing mileage standards in the years ahead would give "the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment".

One of the reasons given for the change was to reduce costs for consumers, allowing them to upgrade to newer, safer vehicles.

California - which is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals and building strong coalitions of partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States and around the globe - will convene the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September. Becerra vowed Thursday to fight the White House's proposed changes, along with attorney generals from 18 other states.

Automakers had long bemoaned the Obama standards as too hard to meet, especially as more consumers choose larger trucks, crossovers and SUVs, which guzzle more gasoline. "We applaud the president and the administration for releasing this much anticipated proposal that includes a variety of standards for public consideration", they said.

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"Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less", EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

California is expected to challenge the withdrawal of the waiver in court. Those standards target a doubling of the fuel economy standards to 50 miles per gallon. He suggested states rights conservatives are hypocrites for approving the plan.

Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan.

The Trump administration is arguing that the multiple standards complicate regulation. 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. "These arguments are not new".

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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.

"For 48 years - since one of my heroes, then-governor Ronald Reagan, requested it- California has had a waiver from the federal government to clean our own air", Schwarzenegger said in a statement released on Twitter.

And yet despite the grave risk of delay, the Trump administration has put forth flimsy justifications for the rollback. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California. And when they fail they are prohibitively expensive to fix and often require someone akin to a rocket scientist to troubleshoot.

Pollution from cars, trucks and other on-road vehicles is the California's single-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to state data.

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