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US Administration Proposes Freezing Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards

Cars are seen on Independence Ave. in Washington, DC, Aug. 1, 2018. (photo: Diaa Bekheet)

The Trump administration has announced plans to freeze fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.

The administration also announced Thursday it wants to rescind the authority of California and other states to set more stringent vehicle mileage standards to address environmental issues like climate change and smog.

New fuel-efficiency requirements, which were set to take effect in 2020, would be frozen through 2026.

The freeze, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would increase projected daily U.S. oil consumption by 500,000 barrels by the 2030's, the administration said.It also said the freeze would save up to 1,000 lives each year by cutting the price of new and safer vehicles.

Cars are seen on the Grand Central Parkway pass LaGuardia Airport in New York, Aug. 1, 2018.
Cars are seen on the Grand Central Parkway pass LaGuardia Airport in New York, Aug. 1, 2018.

Environmental groups are condemning the proposal.

Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp described the proposal as "a massive pileup of bad ideas" that would increase pollution and boost fuel costs. Krupp said the organization would challenge the administration's action "in the court of public opinion and the court of law."

The advocacy group Earthjustice said the proposal "is the latest in a long list of gifts from the Trump administration to the oil industry given at the cost of the public health of Americans."

Seventeen states, including California sued the administration over the freeze in May, in anticipation of the new regulation.

California and 12 other states use more stringent standards than the EPA. Together they account for 40-percent of the American market for cars and light-duty trucks.