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Trump Officially Bars California From Setting Fuel Standards

President says the move will result in cheaper, safer cars
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2019 2:53 PM CDT
President Donald Trump arrives at Moffett Federal Airfield to attend a fundraiser, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) As expected, President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is revoking California's authority to set auto mileage standards stricter than those issued by federal regulators, a move critics said would result in less fuel efficient cars that create more planet-warming pollution. In a series of tweets, Trump said his action would result in less expensive, safer cars. He also predicted Americans would purchase more new cars, which would result in cleaner air as older models are taken off the roads. "Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business," Trump tweeted. Trump's tweet does not address the money consumers would save at the gas pump if cars got better mileage.

Top California officials and environmental groups pledged legal action on Wednesday to stop the rollback, the AP reports. "You can't get serious about climate change unless you are serious about vehicle emissions," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. "This is such a pivotal moment in the history of the climate change debate." The state attorney general, who said the action will hurt US automakers and American families, pledged to fight it in federal court. It's not clear yet what the Trump administration will propose as its final fuel-efficiency rules, but in the past it has favored freezing Obama-era mileage standards at 2021 levels. Under the Obama administration requirements, the fleet of new vehicles would have to average 30 mpg in real-world driving by 2021, rising to 36 mpg in 2025. Currently the standard is 26 mpg. (More on Trump's claims of cheaper, safer cars and a cleaner environment here.)


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