The proposal argues that forcing automakers to reach a fleet-wide average of 51.4 miles per gallon by 2025, as the Obama administration required, would make vehicles more expensive and encourage people to stick to driving older, less-safe cars and trucks.
The government believes freezing the current 2020 standards until 2026 will produce several benefits with few drawbacks.
California is fighting to keep fuel-efficiency standards in place after the EPA announced the rollback of Obama-era mileage standards. Despite the waiver, California still fails to meet federal clean air guidelines, the agencies noted.
The proposal would also end a federal waiver to California that allowed the it to enact stricter tailpipe standards, thereby limiting the types of cars that can be sold in the nation's most populous state.
In a 978-page document (pdf) released on August 2, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are also proposing to retract a waiver issued to California in 2013, which enabled the state to set its own stricter emissions standards.
"We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan", said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is part of the multi-state lawsuit.
"California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible", California Governor Jerry Brown said on Twitter.
Alson said, according to his own calculations, the savings for someone buying a new auto with a loan was $158 a month, but the report acknowledges that consumers would "purchase somewhat more fuel", about five gallons a month during the first year of owning a vehicle.
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"Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less", acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday.
Environmental groups in ME, which is among the states that adopted California's tougher emissions requirements for new cars, and around the country quickly denounced the widely anticipated move.
Those losses would hit the estimated 200,000 U.S.jobs that deal with making vehicles more fuel efficient, said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defence Council.
Months after they pre-emptively sued to block anticipated efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back mileage regulations, Democratic attorneys general vowed to continue their fight in the courts.
In Thursday's proposal, the Trump administration argues that its proposed freeze will have a "negligible" impact on air quality, and boost the earth's temperature by 3/1000th of one degree Celsius by 2100. It said the freeze would boost USA oil consumption by around 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the 2030s, decrease vehicle-related fatalities by encourage consumers to buy new, safer cars - Autoblog scrutinizes that claim here - and lower projected regulatory costs for automakers by $319 billion through 2029.
As vehicle manufacturers boosted fuel economy across their fleets, incremental improvements have become more costly and complicated while returns have diminished, the agencies say. About a dozen other states have followed California's lead.
"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a press release.