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Trump announces challenge to Obama-era fuel standards

The Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Wednesday.

The Associated Press YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration will re-examine federal requirements governing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, moving forcefully against Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump says are stifling economic growth.

Trump revealed his plans during a speech at an automotive testing center near Detroit, where he also met with auto company executives and workers.

“This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation,” Trump said at a roundtable meeting.

The EPA under Obama had promulgated a rule for cars and trucks requiring a fleet-wide average of 36 mpg in real-world driving by 2025.

Trump’s decision, while having no immediate effect, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to determine no later than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025 standards established are appropriate. If the EPA determines they are not appropriate, the agency will submit a new proposal next year.

“My administration will work tirelessly to eliminate the industry-killing regulations, to lower the job-crushing taxes and to ensure a level playing field for all American companies and workers,” Trump said at the American Center for Mobility, which produced B-24 bombers during World War II and is being converted into an automotive testing and product development facility.

Trump’s announcement is expected to set the stage for weaker fuel efficiency standards as well as drawn-out legal battles with environmental groups and states such as California that adopted their own tough tailpipe standards for drivers.

“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He promised a “thorough review” that will “help ensure this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment.

California Gov. Jerry Brown accused Trump and Pruitt of trying to weaken auto-emission standards in what he called “an unconscionable gift to polluters.”

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