© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The administration's proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at 2020 levels, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving. The government also said the proposal will save consumers $2,340 (£1,796 / €2,017) since automakers won't have to increase prices to offset the costs of building more efficient vehicles.
Reforming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards is a huge tax cut for American auto buyers, up to a $7,200 per vehicle.
The federal agencies have also referenced a "50-state program", calling into question California's authority to implement its own more strict emissions regulations.
While the administration supports freezing the mileage standards after 2020, it will seek public comment now on that proposal and a range of others, including leaving the tighter, Obama administration fuel standards in place.
"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
A group of 20 state attorneys general announced their intent to sue the government over the EPA's proposed rules, arguing that the new guidelines would cost Americans up to $236 billion in gas and add the equivalent of emissions from 400 million cars.
- State prosecutors from California to MA blasted the Trump administration Thursday for proposing weaker auto fuel-efficiency standards they said would imperil clean air and increase greenhouse gases. "At first glance, this proposal completely misrepresents costs and savings".
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the proposal would make cars more affordable and save lives.
But consumer advocacy groups, environmental groups and medical associations have said the rule would hurt Americans by costing them more at the pump and releasing more air pollution in the long run.
He said it was the administration's goal to come up with a "50-state solution that does not necessitate pre-empting California".
"If the standards threatened auto jobs, then common-sense changes could have and should have been made". Colorado is set to become the 13th state soon.
"They don't offer any meaningful example of what has changed so dramatically" to warrant the reversal, said Jeff Alson, who until this spring was a senior engineer in the EPA's transportation and air quality office.
The states that have adopted California's emission rules together make up about one third of the US auto market. The Trump administration's proposal would cut off the average CAFE increases in 2020, when automakers will have to produce cars that get an average of 43.7 miles per gallon.
More than a dozen states follow California's standards, amounting to about 40 per cent of the country's new-vehicle market.
"Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and we're not giving that up to President Trump without a fight", Feinstein said. Automakers, who had asked to be relieved of some of the mandates, have expressed misgivings about having to accommodate a patchwork of federal and state standards. "From a consumer angle, from an environmental angle, from an industry angle, there's just no great logic [for this proposal] outside of the administration really catering to extremist viewpoints".
Now they're only about one-third, with less-efficient trucks and SUVS making up the rest.