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But advocates criticised the weakening of environmental rules. The 54 mile per gallon rule might sound high, but when automakers factor in government credits and other loop holes, experts said that the average will be closer to 36 miles per gallon. The state, and others that have adopted the standard, have vowed to fight in court.

The administration also served notice that it wants to revoke states' long-standing authority to set their own, stricter mileage standards.

But in a statement published on The Wall Street Journal's website Thursday, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the Obama-era standards would "impose significant costs on American consumers and eliminate jobs".

All of this could be somewhat mitigated if California can set stronger standards; at the moment, the state and federal standard are the same. It would also worsen air quality problems in Southern California and other areas where officials are already struggling to clean smog and ease rates of asthma and other illnesses.

The proposal will be open to 60 days of public comment, but the rule is expected to be finalized this winter. Also, and manufacturers are talking about kind of having two different standards. CFA Executive Director Jack Gillis says lower fuel economy standards mean families have to pay more to keep their cars running. Transportation is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions went up in 2016, the most recent data available. But as consumers spend more on gas, the costs would start to balloon.

The greatest increase in greenhouse gas emissions would happen in the 2030s because electric cars will grow significantly by the 2040s, the Energy Innovation analysis found. In 1989, aHarvard-Brookings study estimated that the modest 27.5 mile-per-gallon requirement at the time caused a 14 to 27 percent increase in traffic deaths because carmakers downsized vehicles. The impact of freezing those targets for six years, as the administration favors, would be enormous. The firm projects the policy would cost the USA economy $457 billion and cause 13,000 deaths by 2050, as air quality suffers.

The changes are considered massive regulatory rollbacks of Obama administration policies that argued requiring more fuel efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety.

Those assertions are refuted by thousands of pages of data the Obama administration used in developing the regulation.

About a third of these projected savings, or $198 billion, are tied to the agencies' assertion that, by slowing pace at which new vehicles get more expensive, they'll allow people to replace older and less-safe cars more rapidly.

General Motors said in a statement that it wants to work "with all parties to achieve one national 50-state program", adding that it was committed to "continually improving fuel economy and our commitment to an all-electric future". Bill Wehrum, an assistant EPA administrator, told reporters on Thursday that many things had changed, including a drop in fuel prices, since the efficiency rules were last set six years ago. "These arguments are not new". "More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to USA roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public".

At a May meeting in the White House, auto firms appealed to Trump to tap the brakes on the administration's aggressive rollback plan. They are gearing up for a legal and political battle, particularly over the California waiver.