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White House Proposal Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standards, No Exception For California

Via NPR / August 2, 2018 10:16 AM ET

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Image credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The Trump administration has proposed a rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards, while simultaneously taking aim at California's unique ability to set more stringent rules.

Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency called for the fuel economy standards for new vehicles to ratchet up over time. The increasingly strict standards were designed to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

On Thursday, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a new proposed rule that would instead freeze the standards at their 2020 levels for six years.

"Cars and trucks are just part of the basic fiber of the American economy and the American experience, so we take what we're doing very, very seriously," Bill Wehrum, EPA assistant administrator, told reporters on Thursday.

The agencies say that increasing fuel efficiency requirements contributes to an increase in the cost of new cars and trucks, which may discourage consumers from buying new vehicles. Because newer vehicles have advanced safety features, the administration argues, increasing fuel economy requirements therefore harms highway safety, as well as having economic effects.

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