Auto industry calls on Trump to review fuel efficiency standards

The chief executives from 18 major car manufacturers have called on President Donald Trump to review fuel efficiency standards and regulations that were set in place by the Obama administration more than a year ahead of schedule.

In a letter to Trump, the chief executives from automakers such as General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler called for a review, citing potential cost increases for consumers and lower production levels as concerns.

“As recently as late last fall, EPA assured us that the MTR would not result in a final determination before the next administration came into office,” the letter, obtained by Reuters and Bloomberg, stated.

“We are committed to continued gains in fuel efficiency and carbon reduction. At the same time, ignoring consumer preferences and market realities will drive up costs for buyers and threaten future production levels.”

The manufacturers were clear in their support for the efficiency standards, but expressed concerns over the sudden approval of the legislation, which runs through to 2025.

Relax or review?

Standards to increase fuel economy levels to more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 were agreed by automakers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration in 2011.

In December, the EPA reached-out to the manufacturers to provide comments on the plans as part of a 30-day consultation. The end of this consultation saw the EPA confirm that current plans and standards would go ahead, and had until April 2018 to sign off the order.

But, just days before Trump’s presidency began the EPA performed and agreed its review, which led to the backlash from the car manufacturers. Chief among the concerns is the damage that the sudden approval could have on the auto industry, with job losses cited as a major possibility.

Trump has publicly stated that he wants to relax the regulations, and it is believed that his nominee to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, wants to review the standards – but reversing the order could prove a complex task.

Critics have argued that this could be the first step in allowing the auto industry to weaken fuel standards.

The letter was penned just days before Bloomberg revealed that UK Government officials are attempting to convince Trump’s party to remain in the global Paris Agreement. According to the reports, representatives located in Washington are focusing on Trump’s pledge to boost local jobs as a reason to strengthen climate policy and curb air pollution.

Matt Mace

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