Trump administration moves to block California fuel economy standards

The Trump administration announced regulations to withdraw California's waiver to set fuel economy standards.

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The withdrawal is a response to California sidestepping the Environmental Protection Agency by agreeing to stricter gas mileage and carbon emissions standards with four top automakers. Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen were part of the July agreement.

"Federalism does not mean one state can dictate standards for the entire country," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday.

No state may opt out of federal fuel standards, or set its own standard, Wheeler said.

Andrew Wheeler during his confirmation hearing to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency before the United States Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on November 8th, 2017.

California's rules would require light-duty model year 2026 vehicles from the four automakers to hit a minimum of 50 miles per gallon. Trump wants the current standard of 37 miles per gallon to continue until 2026 without rising.

“We will not let political agendas in a single state be forced on the other 49,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said.

Global Automakers said Wednesday it would review Trump administration plans for fuel economy standards.

"A balanced fuel economy regulation is critical for the health of the U.S. auto industry," Global Automakers said in a statement. "Throughout the rulemaking process, Global Automakers has called for a unified national standard that continues the industry’s significant progress in improving motor vehicle fuel economy, and that rewards investments in next-generation fuel-savings technologies. We look forward to seeing the subsequent rule-setting standards for model years 2021 through 2026 when they are finalized."

Wheeler said the standards will keep car prices from rising due to the cost of expensive batteries, and make cars safer.

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