EPA chief: Obama car rule rollback would save consumers $500B

EPA chief: Obama car rule rollback would save consumers $500B
© Anna Moneymaker
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acting head Andrew Wheeler said his forthcoming proposal to roll back fuel efficiency and emissions standards for cars will save consumers $500 billion.
The Trump administration believes the reduced regulatory burden should lower car prices, leading to savings for consumers. The EPA is also expecting safety improvements in the car industry from the rollback. 
Wheeler disclosed the details during a Senate hearing Wednesday about the closely-watched regulatory proposal from the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is expected to be revealed to the public in the coming days.
Wheeler told Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez endorses Markey in Senate race amid speculation over Kennedy candidacy House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge MORE (D-Mass.) that oil consumption would increase if the efficiency rules are weakened but that the rule change would have other benefits.
“I believe the analysis shows that more oil would be consumed,” Wheeler said. “But it also will save 12,000 lives and $500 billion.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists, which supports the Obama rules, says consumers would lose should fuel efficiency and emissions standards be rolled back. The group said spending on gasoline would increase by $50 billion by 2035, and employment would drop by 126,000 by that year, if President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE froze the standards.
Wheeler also said the administration doesn’t want to challenge California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions rules for cars, but officials might have to do so to preserve a single nationwide standard.
“It’s my goal, it’s the administration’s goal, to come up with a 50-state solution. We wanted a 50-state solution that does not necessitate preempting California,” he said.
“President Trump and you have committed to returning EPA to cooperative federalism, which I applaud. Unfortunately, some have confused that principle with coercive federalism where one state dictates their standard to all others,” Inhofe told Wheeler at the hearing.
“When it comes to the auto industry, the last administration handed over car emissions standards to California, but other states didn’t get to weigh in. Because of this Oklahomans are paying more for their SUVs and trucks to subsidize electric cars so California drivers can afford them.”
Wheeler went on to say that safety is a priority in their proposal, implying that the Obama administration’s rule threatened vehicle safety.
“There’s a number of goals in the proposal, and there’s important goals on highway safety,” he said.
“The proposal will save 1,000 lives per year — which I think is very important — and make sure that we maintain that in any final regulation that goes forward.”
He also confirmed previous media reports that the EPA and NHTSA will present multiple ideas, ranging from freezing emissions and fuel efficiency standards in 2020 to even keeping some Obama standards.