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Advocates of Clean Car Standards Condemn Rollback

The fuel-efficiency standards call for an average of 50 mpg by 2025, but the EPA wants to roll them back and set new ones. (BillaJatt/Pixabay)
The fuel-efficiency standards call for an average of 50 mpg by 2025, but the EPA wants to roll them back and set new ones. (BillaJatt/Pixabay)
April 4, 2018

Hartford, CT - Environmental groups are already mounting opposition to the Monday announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it intends to weaken fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks - standards that would increase gas mileage to 50 miles per gallon by 2025. Comments by Mark LeBel (la-BELL), staff attorney for the Acadia Center.

The E-P-A announced on Monday that it intends to weaken Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, but environmental groups say they'll fight back. The standards, finalized in January of last year, require new cars to average 50-miles per gallon by 2025. Bowing to pressure from manufacturers, the Trump administration now says it will start a new rule-making process to set "more appropriate" standards. But Mark LeBel with the Acadia Center says rolling the standards back is far from a "done deal."

"This is just the first step in a longer process and the Trump EPA is going to be resisted by some very good lawyers, from the states and other organizations, every step along the way."

LeBel says those groups will insist that allowing more emissions would damage the economy and threaten health and the environment. President Donald Trump has said he wants to roll back the emission standards to help jump-start the U-S automotive industry.

LeBel points out that carmakers have a variety ways to comply with the emission rules, including credits for using environmentally friendly refrigerants in air conditioning systems or selling more electric cars.

"There's all sorts of flexibility compliance mechanisms that Obama's EPA and Department of Transportation put into these fuel-economy standards to make sure they were feasible."

Analysts say once credits are factored in, cars and light trucks would average about 36-miles per gallon by 2025 under the current standards.

Northeastern states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, have followed California's lead in setting their own, higher fuel-efficiency standards. LeBel thinks the E-P-A may target those next.

"If the Trump EPA tries to go after those standards, there'd be even further repercussions for folks in New England and the Northeast."

The so-called "clean car states" represent almost a third of the U-S auto market.

The E-P-A announced on Monday that it intends to weaken Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, but environmental groups say they'll fight back. Andrea Sears reports.

Andrea Sears reporting.

Reach LeBel at 860-246-7121 x104. More at https://tinyurl.com/y7axtpws.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT