• Why is Trump Weakening Fuel Efficiency Rules?

Why is Trump Weakening Fuel Efficiency Rules?

Sep 01 2018 Read 727 Times

From separating migrant children from their parents to using trade tariffs as a political weapon, the Trump administration has drummed up its fair share of controversy. Now, the 45th President of the United States is proposing a new policy that could weaken fuel efficiency rules introduced during the Obama era, which were designed to ensure car manufacturers develop cleaner and more eco-friendly models.

While the former plan enforced a steady raise in fuel efficiency standards, the revised laws will lock in 2020 levels, with officials claiming the plan offers a much-needed "time out" to car manufacturers. The Trump administration is also seeking to end a waiver that allows the state of California to bypass national laws and enforce its own emission standards.

"Time out" proposal slammed by attorney generals

The new proposal has already received heavy criticism from within the US, with attorney generals from 20 states promising to fight the pitch.

"Freezing or weakening these standards puts the health of our children, seniors, and all communities at risk, and increases the rising costs of climate change for our states," asserts the alliance in a public statement. "We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan."

When the original plan was introduced in 2012, carmakers were required to steadily increase the fuel efficiency of new models each year, with a final goal of 50 miles per gallon for vehicles sold after 2025. Ultimately, this would save the US 12 billion barrels of oil. If the new proposal is passed it will see standards capped at the 2020 rate, the equivalent of 37 miles per gallon.

Government claims standards are "more realistic"

According to Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, the new standards are "more realistic" and will help bring down the cost of new cars and encourage motorists to upgrade to new, more eco-friendly models.

Not everyone is on board, with California Governor Jerry Brown slamming the move as a "betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere", warning that "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible."

While nothing is set in stone, a final decision is expected within the next few months.

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