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Trump Administration’s Fuel Economy Proposal Bucks California in Bid to Spur New Car Purchases

American consumers who want safe, affordable vehicles will find new models with improved technology becoming less costly if a federal rule amending standards for fuel economy and emissions goes into effect, Trump administration officials said Thursday in announcing the proposal.

California has been permitted to set its own auto emissions standards under a federal waiver. But President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could seek to eliminate this waiver as part of the proposed rule change.

Twelve states, concentrated in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, follow California’s lead with stricter emissions standards, as does—closer to the White House—the District of Columbia.

The Obama administration worked with state officials in California to set fuel efficiency standards, a key component of President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.

Democratic Party officials quoted in Politico warn that the Trump administration’s proposal could create a rift between red states and the blue states that adopted California’s stricter emissions standards.

If the new proposal is implemented, California and the 12 other states would need to observe the new federal rules on emissions.

“Since California started to determine the stringency of fuel economy standards, new car prices have increased $6,800 above the pre-2009 baseline trend, according to estimates in a Heritage Foundation study,” said Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, adding:

The National Auto Dealers Association estimates the federal standards demanded by California will add $3,000 to the cost of new motor vehicles by 2025, potentially pricing millions of low-income households out of the market for new cars. Kicking California bullies out of the fuel economy playground will expand consumer choice while making new cars more affordable.

The proposed rule change is a joint effort by the EPA and the highway safety agency, part of the Department of Transportation.

“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release.

‘The Right Regulatory Balance’

The two agencies are soliciting public comments “on a wide range of regulatory options, including a preferred alternative that locks in [model year] 2020 standards through 2026, providing a much-needed time-out from further, costly increases.”

The Trump administration’s “preferred alternative” is expected “to prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule,” according to a press release.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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