March 31 (UPI) -- The Trump administration on Tuesday completed a rollback of Obama-era fuel emissions standards aimed at combatting climate change, saying the move will lead to cheaper vehicle prices.
The rule would reduce the rate of increase of stringency for corporate average fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks in the model years 2021-2026 from 5 percent under the Obama rule to 1.5 percent.
"By making newer, safer and cleaner vehicles more accessible for American families, more lives will be saved and more jobs will be created," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said.
The Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the standards were "not appropriate and should be revised" in April 2018, after conducting the midterm evaluation process for the greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022 through 2025.
"Our final rule puts in place a sensible one national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry," EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
Former President Barack Obama in 2012 finalized the standards that aimed to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of those vehicles.
Obama condemned the Trump administration's rollback of the guidelines in a tweet on Tuesday, likening the threat of climate change to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial," he wrote. "All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall."