1. Close view of hands putting fuel pump nozzle into car gas tank
Washington - 31 March 2020
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation: ++AUDIO ONLY, OVER GRAPHIC OF CHAO++
"The safe vehicles rule sets the next generation of fuel economy standards for our nation's new vehicles. These standards are reasonable, realistic and achievable and reflect the fact that times and technology have changed since the previous rule in 2012."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator: ++AUDIO ONLY, OVER GRAPHIC OF WHEELER++
"The final rule will increase the stringency of CAFE CO2 emission standards by 1.5% each year through model year 2026. This is more stringent than the 2018 proposal, which would have held the standards steady at the 2020 levels set in 2012. While these are tougher standards than the proposal, they are still more realistic and achievable than the 2012 standards, which had required an approximate five percent increase in stringency per year and which the majority of car companies were already not meeting."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) James Owens, Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): ++AUDIO ONLY, OVER GRAPHIC OF NHTSA LOGO, TRAFFIC++
"The public health crisis that the nation is facing is the administration's number one priority. We are at war with the virus and the administration is focused on that. We are rolling this rule out today because we have a statutory deadline, we have to roll it out today by law. But we are certainly cognizant of that. But our rule is looking forward through the next decade and we are focused on the best available evidence before us as we do this modeling and this analysis and make these important and critical policy choices."
Baytown, Texas - 30 March 2020
5. Wide view of highway as truck passes toward gas station
The Trump administration is rolling back tough Obama-era mileage standards and gutting one of the United States' biggest efforts to slow climate change.
The administration released its relaxed mileage rules Tuesday.
The Obama administration mandated 5% annual increases in fuel economy, the Trump administration's proposal slows that to a 1.5% annual increase, backing off from its initial proposal simply to stop mandating increases in fuel efficiency after 2020.
Tailpipe exhaust is a major contributor to climate changing emissions.
The Trump administration argues relaxing mileage standards will save automakers the cost of new emissions technology and make vehicles cheaper for Americans to buy. But opponents say Americans will spend far more on fuel than they save on purchase costs.
"While these are tougher standards than the proposal, they are still more realistic and achievable than the 2012 standards, which had required an approximate five percent increase in stringency per year and which the majority of car companies were already not meeting," Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Tuesday on a teleconference call making the announcement.
Opponents contend the change — gutting his predecessor's legacy effort against climate-changing fossil fuel emissions — appears driven by Trump's push to undo regulatory initiatives of former President Barack Obama and say even the administration has had difficulty pointing to the kind of specific, demonstrable benefits to drivers, public health and safety or the economy that normally accompany standards changes.
The standards have split the auto industry with Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen siding with California and agreeing to higher standards. Most other automakers contend the Obama-era standards were enacted hastily and will be impossible to meet because consumers have shifted dramatically away from efficient cars to SUVs and trucks.
California and about a dozen other states say they will continue resisting the Trump standards in court.
The acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, James Owens, told reporters that there was a statutory deadline to reveal the emissions standards.
"The public health crisis that the nation is facing is the administration's number one priority," he said. "We are at war with the virus and the administration is focused on that. We are rolling this rule out today because we have a statutory deadline, we have to roll it out today by law. But we are certainly cognizant of that."