EPA guts clean car rules—and prepares for legal brawl with California

Taking aim at one of the most significant Obama-era environmental policies, the Trump administration released a new plan to rollback clean car standards today—immediately prompting a wave of backlash and calls for legal action. Instead of standards that would gradually increase the fuel economy of vehicles through model year 2025, the proposed rule would freeze progress at the 2020 target, an average of 37 miles per gallon for passenger cars and trucks. Under the original plan—the result of collaboration between industry, states, and federal regulators—consumers would save money at the pump (enjoying their vehicles’ near 50 mpg), emit fewer harmful emissions into our atmosphere and lungs, and reduce the nation’s oil consumption by 2.4 million barrels per day by 2030. (That would be bad news, of course, for the Trump administration’s friends in Big Oil.) Perhaps most controversially: The revised rule tries to revoke California’s ability to set higher standards than the federal government, setting the stage for a dragged-out legal battle that could cause years of uncertainty for carmakers and potentially split the country’s auto market in two. This fight ain’t nearly over yet.

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