The finalized rule, prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, calls for fuel economy and emission standards to increase by 1.5% annually, rather than the approximately 5% increases in the 2012 rule. According to the rule, the standards will increase to 40.4 miles per gallon by vehicle model year 2026, about six miles per gallon fewer than the 2012 rule.
In introducing the rule, the Trump administration said it was performing what it called “the largest deregulatory initiative of this administration.”
The change “reflects the realities of today’s markets,” the administration said, such as more interest in SUVs over smaller cars and automakers’ current use of credits to meet their targets.
The administration said Tuesday that it believes the rule will cut the average cost of a new car by $1,000, resulting in more Americans replacing their older vehicles with newer ones that have more advanced safety features. That will result in fewer highway fatalities, it said.
The former President wasn’t alone in his criticism of the change on Tuesday.
Gina McCarthy, his former EPA administrator who now heads the Natural Resources Defense Council, argued that “gutting the clean car standards makes no sense.”
“It will harm the air we breathe, stall progress in fighting the climate crisis and increase the cost of driving. The only winner from this action is the oil industry, which wants us stuck driving dirty gas guzzlers as long as possible,” McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday.
The rule, expected to be implemented in late spring, is likely to draw legal challenges from several states, according to The New York Times.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi, Gregory Wallace and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.