Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Trump’s clean vehicle rollback will cost the USA $457 billion

Trump’s clean vehicle rollback will cost the USA $457 billion

There's already plenty of debate over the Trump administration's plan to freeze fuel-economy and vehicle pollution standards as states like California vow to fight the relaxed rules, and even automakers signal their intent to press on developing cleaner cars.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have unveiled their new proposal for fuel economy standards following the scrapping of the Obama-era plan which called for a corporate average fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg (65.4 mpg United Kingdom / 4.3L / 100km) by 2025. Standards would then remain at those levels through 2026.

After the EPA announced in April that it intends to remove the Obama-era mileage standard, California and 16 other states sued the EPA to fight the Trump rule change.

The administration also proposed a withdrawal of California's Clean Air Act preemption waiver. Further, the administration is looking to strip California of the waiver that allows it to set its own standards.

The Natural Resources Council of ME said the changes will result in more harmful pollutants drifting into ME - which already has among the nation's highest asthma rates - and "adds insult to injury by also eliminating states' rights to set our own clean auto standards". "CA DOJ will use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today's national standards and reaffirm the facts and science behind them". "The administration's announcement that it will relax future fuel economy (CAFE) standards is good news for consumers", Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, said in a statement.

"The EPA has handed decision making over to the fossil fuel lobbyists. the flat-Earthers, the climate change deniers", said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. "At first glance, this proposal completely misrepresents costs and savings. We have been steadily increasing the standards... for nearly a decade", said EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum on a call with reporters Thursday.

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The Delaware County health department received hundreds of calls complaining of symptoms attributed to eating at the restaurant . The outbreak led to a federal investigation, as well as the implementation of new safety standards and food-handling procedures.

Besides, California - which is essentially now a foreign country - should not control the auto market and decide pollution and mileage standards for the rest of the country.

While many carmakers have touted their development of more efficient cars, including electric vehicles, auto lobbyists were quick to get assurances from the Trump administration that the more stringent rules would be dismantled. It says keeping the Obama-era standards in place would increase the cost of an average vehicle by $2,340, prompting consumers to hold back in buying newer, safer vehicles and end up aging the nation's fleet of cars on the road.

As expected, the government claims the new fuel economy standards are "anticipated to prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule". Colorado is set to become the 13th state soon. About a dozen other states have followed California's lead.

"More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to United States roads", said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The argument may prove a tough sell in court, where attorneys for states and environmental groups will come armed with a wealth of data undermining it.

"Automakers support continued improvements in fuel economy and flexibilities that incentivize advanced technologies while balancing priorities like affordability, safety, jobs, and the environment", Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a statement.

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