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OIL AND GAS
How Trump's trip to Michigan will pan out for fuel and efficiency
by Daniel J. Graeber
Detroit MI (UPI) Mar 15, 2017


Trump to undo Obama auto emission rules: official
Washington (AFP) March 15, 2017 - President Donald Trump is set to announce steps Wednesday to halt his predecessor Barack Obama's future vehicle emissions limits for manufacturers, a senior administration official said.

During a visit to auto manufacturing hub Detroit, Trump is set to announce that the Environmental Protection Agency's objectives for 2022-2025 will be put on hold during a new review period.

"We are going to hold back the EPA determination" that automakers can meet the Obama administration's strict curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, the official said.

The Trump White House says the rules were issued in an 11th hour move by the Obama administration without taking into consideration the realities of the market, the constraints of various actors in the field and consumer expectations.

"I don't think the public really had an opportunity to weigh in," the official said.

In a February letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, US auto manufacturers had asked the new president to suspend the Obama administration's restrictions, saying they could threaten employment.

Trump is set to meet with auto industry leaders and union representatives in Detroit.

"Will be going to Detroit, Michigan (love), today for a big meeting on bringing back car production to State & U.S. Already happening!" he wrote in a tweet hours before the meetings.

Since his January 20 inauguration, Trump has repeatedly indicated he wants to remove a number of federal environmental regulations he considers futile, saying they are hurting job creation in the United States.

Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was one of the EPA's fiercest opponents prior to being named by Trump to head the agency.

Last week, Pruitt sparked outrage when he went against scientific consensus in claiming that increasing greenhouse gas emissions were not a determining factor in climate change.

As President Trump heads to Michigan on Wednesday to roll out relaxed vehicle emissions and fuel standards, debates began early over the potential results.

The president scheduled a trip to Michigan to meet with auto executives to discuss what White House spokesman Sean Spicer said would be a roll back of regulations that would "lead to more American jobs and higher wages, specifically in the automobile sector."

The administration said it would tap the brakes on regulations put in place by President Barack Obama meant to encourage hybrid and electric vehicles, improve fuel economy standards and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector -- the sector contributing most to greenhouse gas emissions.

A senior White House official said the Trump administration disagrees with determinations made by the previous administration on issues, including whether they are technologically and economically feasible.

In a February letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said that, based on the 2012 rule under the Obama administration, manufacturers need to have model-year 2025 vehicles with an equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon. By the estimates of the Alliance, no conventional vehicle meets that target and, to get up to speed, the automotive industry would need to spend about $200 billion to comply with the rules.

A federal guideline from the the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy on fuel standards for model year 2017 vehicles finds fuel-efficient vehicles would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, which would align with Trump's pledge on the campaign trail to make the country energy independent.

"Oil dependence cost the U.S. economy around $116 billion in 2014 alone," the agencies wrote in the report.

A policy statement from the World Resources Institute notes most other leading economic powers, like China and Canada, the top oil exporter to the United States, have fuel efficiency standards comparable to the 2025 benchmark outlined by the Obama administration.

The WRI said relaxing the rules would be in the step in the wrong direction.

"We can't afford to go backward," the WRI said in a statement. "Doing so would not only accelerate the nation's technological innovation, it would protect our energy security, environment and public health for years to come."

OIL AND GAS
Russia reacts to steep drop in oil prices
Washington (UPI) Mar 14, 2017
The dramatic drop in crude oil prices is in large part because of "aggressive" output in the United States, but OPEC still factors in, a Russian minister said. Crude oil prices declined 5 percent Wednesday after a federal U.S. report revealed dramatic gains in crude oil storage and production levels. The U.S. shale oil boom that evolved over the last decade put negative pressure on crud ... read more

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