The proposal aims to freeze tougher fuel-efficiency standards meant to reduce pollution from cars while also revoking the right of California to establish more stringent tailpipe-emission standards than other states, a step created to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Obama administration received criticism for repurposing the CAFE program from its original goal in 1975-reducing American dependence on foreign oil imports-to a Global Warming scheme aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging consumers to purchase electric cars. "The California Department of Justice will use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today's national standards and reaffirm the science behind them", said Attorney General Becerra.
Since the Trump Administration announced its intent to roll back current fuel standards, Congressman DeSaulnier called for a national boycott of any company that does not commit to maintaining the Obama or CARB standards, urged California's public retirement funds to divest from companies that participate in the rollback, led a group of Democratic Members from California in echoing his call for public divestment, and called on automobile manufactures to clarify how they will respond to such a rollback.
"The auto industry is leery of any proposal that stops progress toward better fuel economy for fear of a public backlash, even though it views the current rules as too stringent", point out Timothy Puko and Alejandro Lazo for the Wall Street Journal. "It could save up to a thousand lives annually by reducing these barriers that prevent consumers from getting into newer, safer cars". "It would halt requirements that automakers build cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars including hybrids and electric vehicles", reports Coral Davenport for the New York Times.
An analysis by the Trump Administration, published jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSB), estimates that halting fuel efficiency targets at 2020 levels could save $500 billion in "societal costs", avoid thousands of highway fatalities, and save Americans approximately $2,340 on the cost of each new auto.
Transportation experts question the reasoning behind the proposal.
But Republican members of Congress support the Trump proposal. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The Trump administration is seeking to scale back the Obama-era rules for vehicles in 2020.
"Attempting to solve climate change, even in part, through the ... waiver provision is fundamentally different from that section's original objective of addressing smog-related air quality problems", the administration argued in the justification for its proposed rule. "What they want more than anything is one set of rules".
Becerra said California is "ready and willing" to talk with Trump administration regulators, but that previous talks have not been fruitful. The CARB standards have since been adopted by 12 other states, accounting for 35 percent of the USA auto market, and are on track to reduce America's oil dependence by more than 2 million barrels a day and will effectively eliminate the impact of 59 million vehicles from the road by 2030.
SIMON MUI: The automakers are going to be facing years of uncertainty, right?
Many U.S. states have adopted California's emission rules, and together they make up about one third of the U.S. auto market - making the stakes for the autos industry enormous. Automakers have called that a worst-case scenario.
"California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible", California Governor Jerry Brown said on Twitter.
For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere.
Once filed, such a lawsuit could drag on for years.
"With today's release of the administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin", Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a statement.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a main industry group, sought to stave off any dispute between California and the federal government that could split the USA auto market: "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 American drivers". Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said on Wednesday he would welcome a deal between the industry and states.
According to Automotive News, under the existing rules a Honda Jazz would need to need to return 62mpg (3.8L/100km) by 2025, while a Chevrolet Silverado would be compliant if it hit 35mpg (6.7L/100km).