Washington may rethink fuel standards rollback
The Trump administration has signaled it may be willing to revisit its intentions of relaxing fuel economy standards.
AP’s Tom Krisher had the news:
The Trump administration is signaling that it could increase fuel economy standards, possibly compromising on its push to freeze them at 2020 levels.
In one of the administration’s hardest-fought battles to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations, two federal agencies submitted a final rule on gas mileage and greenhouse gas emissions on Tuesday.
But they would not give details until the rule is reviewed and formally published by the Office of Management and Budget.
Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a statement that it believes the rule, written jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency, will improve gas mileage and reduce emissions from the U.S. fleet of new vehicles.
The statement also said the rule would make new vehicles more affordable for Americans, thereby putting more new vehicles on the road that are safer than the ones they replaced.
“When finalized, this rule will be a win for all Americans,” the statement said.
Last year, the administration’s proposed freeze touched off a huge legal fight with California, which has authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own greenhouse gas emissions, and by extension, gas mileage standards. Trump revoked California’s authority, and the state challenged the decision in court.
David Shepardson from Reuters, however, reported:
New rules enacting President Donald Trump’s reductions in fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles through 2026 moved closer to reality on Tuesday when U.S. agencies sent proposals to the White House for final review.
After more than 17 months of discussion, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted proposed rules for 2021 through 2026 model year fuel efficiency to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the agencies said.
Final rules are expected as early as late February or March, officials said.
The administration of former President Barack Obama had required car manufacturers to achieve roughly 5% annual increases in vehicle fuel efficiency through the 2026 model year.
The Trump administration proposed in August 2018 freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026, erasing the increases the Obama administration enacted, but officials will not finalize that proposal.
“We’re not going to be flat, as was proposed,” Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens told Reuters in a recent interview. “We’re going to set standards that are reasonable and achievable.”