The proposal also took a swipe at California, accusing the state of focusing "disproportionately" on greenhouse gas emissions at the expense of overall air quality.
"The fleet of new vehicles today is the most fuel efficient ever, and they have gotten safer every year", said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
NHTSA and the EPA claim current fuel standards are a contributing factor to the increasing cost of new cars that now average $35,000, and backers of the new plan claim keeping current standards will add more than $2,300 to the price of a new vehicle.
The administration's proposal, jointly published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers to almost double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of about 54 mpg by 2025. Their proposed rule calls for replacing an aggressive 2012 rule for increasing fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks from 2022 through 2025.
Weapon compliance: It is illegal to manufacture or assemble firearms that do not meet California's safety standards or that are otherwise prohibited under California law, like assault weapons and machine guns.
The administration argues its proposal will reduce traffic fatalities by keeping the cost of vehicles down compared with the current emissions standards, which it claims are a safety hazard that "restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits". "It could save up to a thousand lives annually by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into newer, safer cars".
As can be imagined, not everyone sees the subject in the same favorable light as the Trump administration.
The lawsuit is proceeding, and Becerra said lawyers will now pore over the documents filed with the proposal to help make their case.
Republican lawmakers cheered the proposal. Automakers have said they want improved efficiency but also want standards that account for the massive shift from cars to trucks and SUVs. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
So, the Trump administration must repeal the waiver to fully rollback the Obama-era rules. The Trump administration will ask the public to formally submit comments on the rule.
The rule will likely be challenged in court.
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In announcing the rollback, the Trump administration said the current regulations pushed up the price of new vehicles to an average of $35,000 or more - out of reach for many families.
President Donald Trump had called a year ago for a review of mileage standards, expressing concern they were hurting employment in the US auto industry. In May, California and seventeen other states sued EPA for reversing the Obama administration's GHG emission standards Mid-term Evaluation. If that were to happen, the plan could end up tangled in litigation for years, leaving automakers caught in regulatory uncertainty.
The latter move is especially significant for New Jersey, which is one of 12 other states that have adopted California's tougher emission standards, which include mandates to transition to electric vehicles.
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 US market split in two, with different models of cars required in blue and red states.
But Becerra, the California attorney general, said the EPA is rewriting its own detailed analysis from 2012 and that his state is set to exceed its goal of electric vehicles.
That's what worries the nation's automakers, who will now urge the Trump administration to go back to the table and find a way to strike a deal with California before issuing a final proposal.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, said Thursday that the Trump proposal means it's time for negotiations to begin. The Clean Air Act authorizes California to adopt emission standards that are more stringent than the federal standards and other states are authorized to adopt those same standards for new motor vehicles sold within their states.
WHEELER: It's my goal, it's the administration's goal to come up with a 50-state solution.
Two former EPA mileage officials said the administration's proposal departed from years of findings on fuel efficiency, auto safety, exhaust emissions and costs. "They want to avoid a patchwork of regulations and the costly variations in vehicle design that could create", they add.
Some middle ground might be possible. "All of us want a national program".
At present, the vehicle industry is on track to meet or exceed the clean auto standards at issue. "That makes no sense". For now, Ting's bill has been put on hold, but he says he will re-introduce it next year.