Green groups sue Trump administration over reduced penalties on fuel efficiency

Green groups sue Trump administration over reduced penalties on fuel efficiency
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Two prominent environmental groups sued the Trump administration Monday, arguing it is breaking the law by cutting penalties for automakers that do not meet Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

The suit from the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council challenges a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule that lowers penalties for manufacturers from $14 to $5.50 for every tenth of a mile per gallon (mpg) they fall below fuel efficiency standards. 

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“We are again challenging an Administration that attempts to give away polluting passes left and right. There should be no question that automakers who lag behind on meeting standards that require them by law to make their vehicles more fuel efficient should pay the repercussions,” Alejandra Núñez, a lawyer for the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

The group’s lawsuit follows a similar one filed earlier this month from 13 state attorneys general.

The suits are the latest step in a long saga over fuel efficiency standards that have left states clashing with the federal government.

The Trump administration proposed freezing Obama-era fuel standards, a move that has also been condemned by the auto industry.

The standards from the Obama administration would have required automakers to produce cars and light trucks that reach an average of 51 mpg by 2026. The deal was designed to create one national fuel economy standard after decades of allowing California and other states to adopt their own more aggressive standards. 

The NHTSA did not immediately respond to request for comment.