"The reporting that we're reversing Obama-era fuel efficiency standards and pre-empting the tougher California standard is simply false", Sanders said. The 54 mile per gallon rule might sound high, but when automakers factor in government credits and other loop holes, experts said that the average will be closer to 36 miles per gallon. Despite the waiver, California still fails to meet federal clean air guidelines, the agencies noted.
The Obama administration had planned to keep toughening fuel requirements through 2026, saying those and other regulations on vehicles would save 40,000 lives annually through cleaner air.
The rollback would undermine efforts by California and several other states to meet commitments the USA made in the Paris agreement on climate change.
Administration officials said the Obama rules added US$2,340 to the cost of owning a new auto and that more Americans have been priced out of the market for new vehicles. The government also said the proposal will save consumers $2,340 (£1,796 / €2,017) since automakers won't have to increase prices to offset the costs of building more efficient vehicles. California and other states which follow its standard have indicated they will take legal action, which could significantly delay matters. The administration's assertion that lighter, more fuel efficient cars are more unsafe has been disputed by transport experts.
In the years before California's extremely strict clean air rules, there were smog-filled skies that were fairly common.
The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.
The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released new draft fuel economy targets, dubbed the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. And what the Trump administration is doing in trying to roll those back, it's going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars more at the pump.
The administration also projects the efficiency rules would drive up the price of cars enough to push some buyers out of the market, leaving them to remain in older vehicles lacking life-saving new technologies like assisted braking and blind spot warning.
Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan. The affordability argument also ignores thousands of dollars of saving in fuel costs for each driver over the life of a auto, opponents of the rollbacks said.
As EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained, "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". The rulemaking will set the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) and light-duty vehicle greenhouse emissions standards for light trucks and will set the greenhouse gas and mileage standards for 2021-2026. "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.