Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Trump administration unveiled a plan Thursday to roll back aggressive government targets that mandate better fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, the fleet of cars and light-duty trucks released by automakers each year will only have to average about 37 mpg by 2026. Under the Obama-era plan, the target was 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
"Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less," acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday. "More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public's input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner."
Officials said the aim of the new plan is to help with hurdles automakers face in producing fuel-efficient vehicles, which, on average, cost consumers $35,000 more.
Opponents are concerned about the rollback's effects on air quality.
A coalition of 17 states sued the EPA in May after it first announced plans to lower the fuel standards.
Attorneys general in the lawsuit said Thursday the existing rules are in place to reduce carbon pollution, improve air quality and save drivers money.
"The administration's proposal to weaken these rules will cause the American people to breathe dirtier air and pay higher prices at the pump," the statement said.
The EPA also confirmed plans to strip California of its special authority to set its own fuel economy levels for vehicles, citing a 50-state solution in the proposal.