Friday, August 3, 2018

EPA announces relaxed fuel efficiency standards, California and other states vow to fight them

Exactly four months ago, I wrote EPA relaxing fuel efficiency standards, setting up fight with California.  Yesterday, the other shoe dropped, as the EPA followed through.  PBS NewsHour reported Trump administration plans rollback of fuel standards, setting up legal fight with states.

Over President Obama's tenure, rules were put in place that would have nearly doubled the average fuel economy standard in the U.S., which the Trump administration has argued goes too far. Now a new EPA proposal would set standards to far lower to protect manufacturers and consumers from costs. Judy Woodruff reports that Thursday's announcement sets up a looming legal battle with some states.
PBS NewsHour followed up this segment by asking How would Trump’s fuel standard rules affect Americans?

The Trump administration called on Thursday for rolling back the Obama-era fuel standards to make cars get better gas mileage and emit less pollution. Judy Woodruff gets reaction from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who plans to join the legal challenge, as well as Mary Kate Hopkins from Americans for Prosperity, a libertarian advocacy group that has applauded the move.
I'm with Herring on this issue, not Hopkins.  With sea level rise is already causing coastal flooding in New Jersey, record heat scorching southern California and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, and gas and oil prices higher than they've been in four years, I think relaxing fuel efficiency standards is a bad idea.  Doing so will make pollution, climate change, and energy use worse.

Herring and I are not alone in thinking that.  Newsy included a collection of quotes from various governors and state attorneys general in Suit planned over proposed fuel standard freeze who said much the same thing.

Nearly 20 states' attorneys general say they plan to join the lawsuit.
I wish the states planning on suing the federal government luck and skill; they will need both.

Finally, KCRA in Sacramento examined How new fuel standards will impact California vehicles.

California is fighting to keep fuel-efficiency standards in place after the EPA announced the rollback of Obama-era mileage standards. The standards called for automakers to reach a fleet average of about 54 miles per gallons by 2025; the new standard is about 37 miles per gallon after 2021. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the rollback would imperil the state's efforts to curb greenhouse gases and clean up some of the nation's most polluted air. Becerra also promised to sue if the Trump administration makes good on plans to revoke a longstanding waiver allowing California and other states to set their own stricter auto emissions standards. Get the full story in the video above.
KCRA does not think that relaxing the standards will affect demand for more efficient vehicles.  I hope that turns out to be correct; the planet needs it.

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