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Trump softens Obama-era fuel economy standards
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Trump softens Obama-era fuel economy standards

The Trump administration on Tuesday weakened the fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, previously one of the nation’s most aggressive policies against climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on behalf of the Department of Transportation, amended carbon dioxide and fuel economy standards for model years 2021 and later. Currently, the administration mandates that automakers increase fuel economy across their vehicles by 5 percent annually, where the new rule lessens the annual increase to 1.5 percent.

Standards that increase at 1.5 percent per year represent a reasonable balance of additional technology and required per-vehicle costs, consumer demand for fuel economy, fuel savings and emissions avoided given the foreseeable state of the global oil market and the minimal effect on climate between finalizing 1.5 percent standards versus more stringent standards.

The final rule represents the second part of the administration’s action related to the August 2018 proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. The regulation finalizes regulatory text related to preemption under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and withdraw a waiver previously provided to California under the Clean Air Act.

The regulation has been heavily criticized and will likely face lawsuits from states and environmental agencies.