Trump administration officials defended their controversial proposal to freeze fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels at a congressional hearing on Thursday and said the proposal would be submitted to the White House for final review in the coming weeks.
Automotive News reported that the administration has rebuffed requests from automakers and some lawmakers to make a last-ditch effort to reach a deal with California to extend national standards after it ended talks in February. The administration plans in the coming months to finalize a dramatic rewrite of fuel efficiency standards through 2026 that would also strip California, the most populous state, which wants stricter rules to fight climate change, of the right to set its own, tougher emissions rules.
The final regulation potentially faces a multi-year legal battle that could leave automakers in limbo about future emissions and fuel efficiency requirements and ultimately decrease the number of U.S. electric vehicles offered by automakers.
At a joint five-hour hearing of two House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittees, Democrats cast the administration plan as a blow against efforts to combat climate change and a boon for oil companies. Republicans said it would reduce vehicle prices and rein in California.
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