Fuel-Efficiency Rules on Backslide, Attorneys General Say

MANHATTAN (CN) – More than a dozen attorneys general went to court Friday to keep stiff penalties in place for those that would violate fuel-efficiency standards set by former President Barack Obama.

“This rule is just another misguided and reckless attempt by the Trump administration to roll back the clock on our clean air standards, which is why we will stand up and fight to protect the health and well-being of New Yorkers and every person living in this country,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the coalition, said in a statement.

“Without strong penalties for violating these fuel efficiency standards consumers, our economy, and our environment all remain in danger,” James continued. “As we’ve done in the past, we will continue to fight this battle against the Trump administration’s efforts to ignore the realities of climate change and we will win.”

Congress enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards in 1975 to achieve energy independence from an OPEC embargo that wrought havoc on U.S. drivers during the Arab-Israeli War.

Obama adjusted the penalties for inflation from $55 for every shorted mile-per-gallon to $140 per mpg.

Attempting to repeal this increase, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a rule last week that would set penalties for violations at their old rates.

The Trump administration has tried, and failed, to delay the adjusted rates before in the Second Circuit, where today’s lawsuit was filed.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, another of the 13 plaintiffs, alluded to his prior courtroom battle in a statement.

“We were victorious in our earlier court battle against President Trump in maintaining the CAFE penalty level that accounts for inflation as required by law,” Becerra wrote. “Now the Trump administration seeks to make these penalties meaningless. We’ll take on this latest wrong-headed maneuver with the same vigor that defeated the administration’s first attempt at backsliding.”

Attorneys General from Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. are also part of the coalition, which filed a petition for review Friday with the Second Circuit.

A representative for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to comment.

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