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PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2018 


Senator Corker demands the Trump administration share intelligence on the killing of a Washington Post columnist. Also on the Friday rundown: groups sue over the Texas border wall plan; and the soggy summer in some states may lead to higher pumpkin prices for Halloween.

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Trump's EPA Throws Fuel-Efficiency Standards to Scrapheap

The Trump administration is proposing freezing fuel efficiency standards at 35 mpg for the next six years. The public has 60 days to comment. (Jeff Wilcox/Flickr)
The Trump administration is proposing freezing fuel efficiency standards at 35 mpg for the next six years. The public has 60 days to comment. (Jeff Wilcox/Flickr)
August 3, 2018

KIRKLAND, Wash. – The Trump administration is halting the push for higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars - standards aimed at reducing a major source of greenhouse gases. The administration says rolling back the Obama-era rules will save buyers of new vehicles about $2,000.

But, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, who also runs a Ford/Hyundai dealership, says automakers already are meeting the benchmarks and Americans are buying more fuel-efficient cars.

"The industry has proven that it can adapt and comply with standards that are put out there; and in some states, more aggressive goals have been set and those goals have been met," she notes. "So, if we don't strive, we won't accomplish."

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, more efficient vehicles cost slightly more, but the gas savings will outweigh the costs by an average of $3,300 per Washington state household by 2030.

The Trump administration also says freezing the miles per gallon for cars at 35 - rather than 54 in the current standards - means people would drive less, which would lower the risk of car crashes. However, outside experts and even EPA scientists have contested this point.

Currently, cars and light trucks are responsible for one-fifth of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Mark Vossler, a cardiologist with the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, says the growing effects of climate change will be evident as it gets worse. But he adds that emissions from cars pose a more present danger.

"Levels of particulate matter that were felt to previously be non-harmful were shown to equate to an increased risk of hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiac diseases, particularly among the elderly population," he notes. "So, we really need to be reducing air pollution, even independent of the climate change effects."

Vossler points to EPA data that say the country would save $1-2 million in health care costs if efficiency standards were in place by 2025.

In May, Washington joined 16 other states in a lawsuit against the EPA to protect the fuel-efficiency standards, arguing that striking them violates the Clean Air Act.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA