Sci-tech

Calif. Vows to Fight Feds' Fuel-Efficiency Roll Back

Calif. Vows to Fight Feds' Fuel-Efficiency Roll Back

Today's amended complaint argues that California's firearms laws, passed to protect its residents from gun violence, would be undermined by the public distribution of 3D downloadable guns and that the Trump Administration is violating the Administrative Procedure Act in permitting downloadable guns to be made available online.

"Freezing fuel efficiency standards at this critical juncture, when momentum is picking up and billions of dollars in investments are following suit, would cede the growing EV market to China and create unnecessary regulatory uncertainty for automakers in the United States".

The administration's proposal asserts that "attempting to solve climate change, even in part" is "fundamentally different" from the Clean Air Act's "original goal of addressing smog-related air quality problems". The current standards have been a factor in the rising cost of new automobiles to an average of $35,000 or more-out of reach for many American families.

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. This program allows automakers to design and manufacture vehicles that will comply with tailpipe standards in all states.

An analysis by the Trump Administration, published jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSB), estimates that halting fuel efficiency targets at 2020 levels could save $500 billion in "societal costs", avoid thousands of highway fatalities, and save Americans approximately $2,340 on the cost of each new auto.

The rollback would undermine efforts by California and several other states to meet commitments the US made in the Paris agreement on climate change.

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Chinese counterpart Wang Yi said approval of the draft was "good news" and a "breakthrough". However, it was too early to say when negotiations would be complete, he added.

Both agencies also claim there will be mo noticeable impact to net emissions of smog-forming air pollutants.

The release of the administration's proposal was repeatedly delayed in recent weeks as officials debated how aggressively to push.

However, Wheeler's views have clashed with those of others in the administration, particularly in the White House and at the Transportation Department, who are said to be spoiling for a fight with California.

The prospect of an extended legal fight has discomfited automakers, who had asked the administration to relax the Obama-era rules but don't want to see the USA market split in two, with different models of cars required in blue and red states.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, sought to stave off any dispute between California and the federal government that could split the USA auto market: "We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of American drivers".

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), CARB, and auto manufacturers established a unified national program harmonizing greenhouse gas emission standards and fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards, and in 2012 the agencies extended the national program to model years 2017-2025 vehicles.

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China immediately expanded its own list of types of US products to be tariffed, including farm products, cars and crude oil. Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details".

The transportation sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Currently, cars and light trucks are responsible for one-fifth of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bay Area firm Energy Innovation, which models the environmental impact of energy policies, projects the proposal would increase US fuel use 20 percent by 2035. The cost to the Commonwealth's economy from asthma alone is predicted to be $2.6 billion every year by 2020.

CARB Chair Nichols, whose staff has the unenviable task of parsing the almost 1,000-page proposal, said her agency will indeed "figure out how the [Trump] Administration can possibly justify its absurd conclusion that weakening standards to allow dirtier, less efficient vehicles will actually save lives and money".

Those assertions are refuted by thousands of pages of data the Obama administration used in developing the regulation.

It's got "everything to do with just trying to turn over the fleet ... and get more clean and safe cars on the road", said Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Being that the Administration's two primary arguments for the proposal are affordability and safety, their argument behind road fatalities is that as the cost of a new auto increases, people will be less likely to buy one, opting for a older, less safe model. "They have failed before".

"This is absolutely a health and safely issue", says Benjamin. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California.

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