States going to court to challenge mileage rule

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"We strongly oppose the Trump administration plan to roll back these clean-car standards, and we're going to fight to do that", Shapiro said in a conference call with the attorneys general of California, Xavier Becerra, and Massachusetts, Maura Healey.

In a 978-page document (pdf) released on August 2, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also proposing to retract a waiver issued to California in 2013, which enabled the state to set its own stricter emissions standards.

The Trump administration on Thursday announced plans to freeze fuel efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks through 2026 while moving to undercut the ability of states - including ME - to set their own tailpipe emissions restrictions. "Automakers support continued improvements in fuel economy and flexibilities that incentivize advanced technologies while balancing priorities like affordability, safety, jobs and the environment".

Officials in the Trump administration said their actions would make autos more affordable and that would make roads safer because more motorists would be driving newer cars with the latest safety features.

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Representatives of the USA auto industry praised the administration's proposal, even as some automakers privately have expressed unease at the prospect of abrupt changes in fuel standards and having to meet different standards in different states. The new rules would cap corporate average fuel economy standards at 43.7 mpg for passenger cars and 31.3 mpg for light trucks through model year 2026. But now, the state's emissions standards are in jeopardy.

The EPA also confirmed plans to strip California of its special authority to set its own fuel economy levels for vehicles, citing a 50-state solution in the proposal.

"We come from a free-market perspective, where we believe consumers should have a choice in their vehicles, and they can weigh all the appropriate factors - be it size, horsepower, utility or fuel economy", Derrick Morgan, senior vice president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade group, which advocated for the changes in a meeting at the White House in June, told Bloomberg. In announcing the new standards in 2012, the Obama administration said the stricter rules would save around 6bn tons of greenhouse gases by 2026, as well as save Americans $1.7tn in fuel costs.

The rollback would undermine efforts by California and several other states to meet commitments the USA made in the Paris agreement on climate change. 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. "We're simply opening it up for a comment period and we'll make a final decision at the end of that", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

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The soaring prices of cars have led more Americans to hold off on new auto purchases.

Older cars are less fuel efficient and less safe. In 1989, aHarvard-Brookings study estimated that the modest 27.5 mile-per-gallon requirement at the time caused a 14 to 27 percent increase in traffic deaths because carmakers downsized vehicles. The Trump administration's proposal would cut off the average CAFE increases in 2020, when automakers will have to produce cars that get an average of 43.7 miles per gallon.

"Rolling back these successful rules is a serious mistake that will cost consumers dearly".

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