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formulanone / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Andrea Germanos

A federal court on Monday stopped another of the Trump administration's attacks on clean air—its indefinite delay of stricter penalties for automakers producing vehicle fleets that don't meet fuel efficiency standards.

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By Dave Cooke and Elliott Negin

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent decision to roll back fuel economy standards for new cars and light trucks could slam the brakes on our nation's most successful climate initiative to date.

The next phase of the standards calls for improving the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks in the U.S. to about 50 miles per gallon in lab tests by 2025, which corresponds to a real-world performance of about 36 mpg. By 2030, that would avoid nearly 4 billion tons of global warming emissions, akin to shutting down 140 coal-fired power plants over that time frame.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Dave Cooke

In what comes as a surprise to absolutely no one following the current administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday issued a redetermination of the appropriateness of the EPA's vehicle regulations through 2025 and found that they should be made less stringent. In doing so, he is overturning thousands of pages of hard evidence, and the consequences will be limiting consumer choice, increasing emissions and undercutting the economy.

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The Obama administration released finalized fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday, the latest of its many regulations to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

"The new efficiency and emissions standards for heavy duty trucks are an impressive achievement from President Obama."

The new standards are expected to eliminate 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide once fully implemented, equivalent to a year's worth of emissions from U.S. residential power use. Although these vehicles make up just 5 percent of road traffic, they account for 20 percent of transportation-related carbon emissions. The standards, which will be in effect through 2027, largely have the support of the trucking industry as they could save $170 billion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption.

"Last December, the United States played a leading role in securing a global climate agreement in Paris and these new standards demonstrate that we are doing our part to implement that landmark agreement," said Ken Kimmell, president of Union of Concerned Scientists, who posted a blog today on the rule. "They are realistic, cost-effective and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 billion tons and oil consumption by 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the program."

According to NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer, "The new efficiency and emissions standards for heavy duty trucks are an impressive achievement from President Obama, proving once again that tackling the climate crisis goes hand-in-hand with growing our economy and improving public health. President Obama's leadership in addressing the climate crisis continues to put our country on the right path to building a clean energy economy, and coming off the hottest month in recorded history, there's no time to waste. We can't let a dangerous demagogue like Donald Trump roll back this incredible progress."

For a deeper dive:

News: Washington Post, Morning Consult, CBS News, New York Times, Reuters, Politico, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, The Hill

Commentary: Washington Post, Fredrick Kunkle column, The Hill, Dr. Elena Rose op-ed

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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