Automakers urge California, US to restart mileage talks

Major automobile manufacturers urged the Trump administration and California on Thursday to restart negotiations over vehicle mileage standards to prevent a lengthy legal battle, warning that moving ahead with two sets of standards would create instability in the auto market.

“What works best for consumers, communities, and the millions of U.S. employees that work in the auto industry is one national standard that is practical, achievable, and consistent across the 50 states,” the 17 companies including Honda, Ford and Mercedes-Benz wrote in a letter addressed to Trump.

At issue is a Trump administration roll back of tougher Obama-era mileage standards that would require cars to get 36 miles (58 kilometers) of real-world driving per gallon (3.8 liters) of gas by 2025. The goal is for Americans to fill up their gas tanks less frequently, sending fewer climate-changing emissions and pollutants into the air.

Instead, the administration is halting the tougher standards at a 2020 requirement that cars achieve 30 miles (48 kilometers) per gallon of real-word driving. It also wants to take away California’s long-held ability to set its own, tougher standards, first granted in 1970 under the Clean Air Act as the state dealt with oppressive smog. Under the Obama rules, though, California and the federal government were on the same page. …

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