Trump Administration Rolls Back Emission Standards 

August 6, 2018

EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week released its proposed rule, “The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,” to roll back the Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

The proposal is based on the Trump administration’s Midterm Evaluation process and its conclusion that the Federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks needed to be revised.

The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, promulgated during the Obama administration, require automakers to achieve a companywide vehicle fuel economy average of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg), or its equivalent, by 2025.

Instead, the Trump Administration is now proposing to freeze the standards after 2021 at 37 miles per gallon.

“This rule promises to save lives,” said Heidi King, the Transportation Department’s acting administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “It could save up to a thousand lives annually by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into newer, safer cars.”

The Trump administration also is proposing to revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act (CAA) that allows the State to set stricter fuel economy standards.  Currently, 13 other states follow California’s more stringent pollution standards.

“For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere,” California Governor Jerry Brown stated after the proposal’s release.

Several Senate Democrats said they would attempt to employ the Congressional Review Act to overturn the proposed rollback.

“We’re in a position to bring out, when they complete this rule, a Congressional Review Act vote on the floor of the United States Senate, and to build a national campaign around that effort to fight to defend efforts to change these rules,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Member Ed Markey (D-MA) said.