Critics of the plan - including manufacturers of cars and vehicle parts, environmentalists, auto dealerships, consumer groups and at least a dozen states - are expected to spend the coming months urging the Trump administration to significantly change the proposal before issuing a final version.
The Transportation Department says the proposal would shrink regulatory costs for automakers by $319 billion through 2029, reducing by more than $60 billion what General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV each would have been expected to spend to comply with the Obama-era rules.
UCLA environmental law professor Ann Carlson says California has received almost 100 such waivers under the Clean Air Act to implement its own standards over the past 50 years. Opponents, including 19 states' attorneys general, have already filed a lawsuit to block the proposal.
"The earth is not flat and climate change is real", Becerra said.
The proposal would freeze USA mileage standards at 2020 levels, when the new vehicle fleet will be required to hit an average of 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving. Meanwhile, the USA would increase its fuel consumption by about 500,000 barrels of oil per day, contributing to increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
They also said the policy shift would lead to fewer highway deaths by enabling more consumers to afford new vehicles that are safer than those being traded in. Rolling back the rules would make American cars less competitive in a global market that is trending toward more efficient vehicles, he said. The government says it will seek public comment for a broader picture of the impact of any mileage freeze.
Some Republican lawmakers supported the mileage freeze, but environmental groups and many states assailed it.
Cost Americans between $193 billion and $236 billion more at the pump through 2035. The new standards propose to roll back the Obama-era clean auto rules by maintaining the MY 2020 CAFE standards through MY 2026.
"There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026", said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council says they actually want fuel economy to go up.
"They don't offer any meaningful example of what has changed so dramatically" to warrant the reversal, said Jeff Alson, who until this spring was a senior engineer in the EPA's transportation and air quality office. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asserted that "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible", and former Obama administration climate change staffer Jody Freeman wrote that the rule "could be the most significant setback for American progress on climate change so far under President Trump". The argument remained on the EPA's website Thursday.
According to CNN, Trump administration is calling the plan a '50-state fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standard for passenger cars and light trucks'. Being that the Administration's two primary arguments for the proposal are affordability and safety, their argument behind road fatalities is that as the cost of a new vehicle increases, people will be less likely to buy one, opting for a older, less safe model.
"Given the number of states that follow California's lead, mostly in the Northeast and Northwest, vehicle makers say they fear the Trump administration's aggressive rollback of fuel-economy standards will force states to go their own ways".
Federal and California officials would soon meet about the proposal, Wehrum said, adding, "All of us want one national program".
The administration said the proposed rollback would mean billions of dollars in regulatory savings for auto manufacturers. In May, California and seventeen other states sued EPA for reversing the Obama administration's GHG emission standards Mid-term Evaluation.
A drawn-out legal battle over the standards could hurt the auto industry as it tries to plan for coming model years.
"We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of America's drivers", said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. If those standards were kept in place, it would cost an additional $500 billion to the economy over the next 50 years, according to the administration. Automakers have said they want improved efficiency but also want standards that account for the massive shift from cars to trucks and SUVs. Don Thompson contributed from Sacramento.