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The public will have 60 days to comment on the plan before any action is taken. Markey told reporters on a phone conference in response to the administration's proposal Thursday.

And yet despite the grave risk of delay, the Trump administration has put forth flimsy justifications for the rollback.

Under this GOP-controlled Congress, that gambit is unlikely to advance.

Soon after taking office, President Donald Trump called for a rollback, urging "common sense changes" if the mileage requirements threatened auto industry jobs. It could also become a polarizing issue in elections in November.

Officials said the change to fuel efficiency rules would offer a "much-needed time-out from further costly increases".

"We are going to fight like hell to make sure what was proposed does not get enacted", said the panel's ranking member, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware.

Thursday's rule-making proposal from the EPA and NHTSA also presents several other options for modifying the Obama targets, while recommending the proposed freeze starting in 2020, the most severe of the scenarios. The resolution enables Congress to essentially void an executive branch regulation it deems misguided or unnecessary.

Markey noted that Democrats, along with Republicans Sen.

Older cars are less fuel efficient and less safe.

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Auto manufacturers now are mandated to incrementally reach an average fuel economy of 54 miles per gallon across their passenger vehicle and light truck fleets by 2025, under guidelines put in place in 2012 under President Barack Obama, The Trump administration proposes freezing the increase at 37 miles per gallon in 2020, and keeping that until at least 2025.

A lower emission standard would make it easier for them to make the vehicles more drivers want.

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it would be freezing Obama-era fuel efficiency guidelines that required US vehicles to become significantly more fuel efficient.

That's a pretty sizable difference and the government claims the proposal "reflects a balance of safety, economics, technology, fuel conservation and pollution reduction".

General Motors said in a statement that it wants to work "with all parties to achieve one national 50-state program", adding it was committed to "continually improving fuel economy and our commitment to an all-electric future".

Environmental groups are already expressing their outrage over the plan. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California. California and the automakers agreed to the rules in 2012, setting a single national fuel economy standard. "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible". The state needs to curtail carbon dioxide emissions with help from fuel efficiency, he said.

"The earth is not flat, and climate change is real", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, as he connected global warming to the deadly wildfires burning out of control throughout the state.

The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board said in June that it would review a number of the changes made under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, including the plan to reduce vehicle efficiency standards.

President Donald Trump said in March a year ago that his administration is working on relaxing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards set by his predecessor.