Trump says U.S. will finalize new fuel efficiency rules next year
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[December 07, 2019]
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump said on Friday that his administration will finalize its
rollback of Obama-era vehicle emissions standards next year and expected
it would provoke a new legal challenge by California.
The administration had signaled in recent months it could finalize its
proposed revisions to the requirements before the end of 2019. The
administration has argued that the rollbacks are necessary for economic
and safety reasons but California and environmentalists reject that
analysis, saying consumers would spend hundreds of billions more in fuel
In August 2018, the administration proposed freezing vehicle efficiency
requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, which would result in average
fuel efficiency of 37 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2026, compared with 46.7
mpg under rules adopted in 2012. The Trump administration's "preferred
option" would hike U.S. oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels per day
by the 2030s but reduce automakers regulatory costs by more than $300
Republican Trump has sought to reverse his Democratic predecessor Barack
Obama's climate change policy, which was aimed at reducing greenhouse
Trump said on Friday that the dispute was over "a tiny amount of fuel -
of which we have plenty." He said the rules would lead to "safer and
more affordable vehicles."
Trump, without citing any evidence, said the existing rules would
require "extra computers put on the engine."
The administration has said the rules would reduce traffic deaths
because it would cut future vehicle price hikes and prod speedier
purchases of safer vehicles. But some EPA staff disputed that
contention, according to documents released last year, arguing it would
actually lead to more traffic deaths in some years because of an
increase in vehicle travel.
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump listens to a question from a reporter while
participating in a "roundtable on small business and red tape
reduction accomplishments" in the Roosevelt Room at the White House
in Washington, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Last month, California and 22 other states sued to challenge the
administrationís decision in September to revoke Californiaís
authority to set stiff vehicle tailpipe emissions rules and require
a rising number of zero emission vehicles.
Major automakers - including General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp,
and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV - backed the administrationís
effort to bar California from setting tailpipe standards.
The U.S. Department of Justice in August opened an antitrust
investigation into four major automakers that struck a deal with
California and has issued civil subpoenas to Ford Motor Co, Honda
Motor Co, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE>.
The administrationís final requirements are expected to modestly
boost fuel efficiency versus the preferred option, with several
automakers anticipating annual increases of about 1.5%, much less
stringent than the Obama rules.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant
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