Citing the Obama era EPA consumption standards for cars and light trucks as “too high”, administrator Scott Pruitt has announced the plan to implement “more appropriate” GHG emissions standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
In layman’s terms, this means they plan to simply lower the standards, as Pruitt has confirmed. Pruitt is mostly known as being one of the most vocal anti-EPA lobbyists, before the Trump administration hired him to take over the agency. The new policies have been a focal point of the lobbying group Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
The initial standards plan saw car manufacturers planning to double their fleet wide average fuel consumption to 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. Proponents of the plan had hoped to encourage growth and innovation in renewable energy transport sector, but the new plan will likely see a significant lowering of standards, allowing for US manufacturers to sell more polluting vehicles, somewhat counter to the EPA’s mission.
Criticism of the thinly veiled corporate handout has come from several directions, among which is also the Californian government, which has publicly clashed with the Trump administration several times already. The current legislation allows for states to impose higher standards than are federally mandated, which seems to be the next target for the EPA, as the agency said in a statement: “The California waiver is still being reexamined by EPA under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership.”
Further making his point, Pruitt added: “Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country”, and that the EPA looks forward to working with “all states, including California, as we work to finalize that standard.”
Additional criticism also came from consumer protection groups, energy companies as well as industrial voices, such as the Aluminum Transportation Group.