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California resists Trump's review of Obama fuel economy standards

President Trump speaks to a group of autoworkers in Detroit on March 15, 2017.
President Trump speaks to a group of autoworkers in Detroit on March 15, 2017.
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With Detroit as his backdrop, President Trump promised to “make cars in America again." During the Wednesday event attended by chief executives from Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, the president ordered a review of strict passenger vehicle fuel economy standards put in place during the Obama administration that required a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

"We want to be the car capital of the world again," Trump said during his speech at the American Center for Mobility.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams and hundreds of UAW members were also in attendance at the event, where Trump promised "common-sense changes" to federal fuel economy rules enacted during the Obama administration six years ago.

Trump said he is ordering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reopen a review of the fuel economy standards. The Obama administration EPA chief had finalized a review of those standards just days before Trump took office -- well before its scheduled midterm review in 2018; she ordered them to remain in place through 2025. It's that review that Trump is asking to be re-reviewed in the hopes that relaxed fuel economy rules might spur U.S. job creation.

The state of California, which has long been able to enforce even tougher emissions standards than the U.S. government under the federal Clean Air Act, is preparing to defend the Obama standards. On Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a legal motion on the grounds that a weakening of federal fuel economy standards would hurt California's economy, its natural resources and its residents.