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Auto Industry Leaders Ask Trump to Revisit Fuel Efficiency Rules

Washington DC, USA - January 20, 2017: An internet live news channel streams President Trump signing executive orders following his inauguration.

In 2011, US automakers agreed to the 2025 efficiency rules. This was seen by many as a landmark from Obama administration. Many pundits praised that we could be seeing  50 miles per gallon as standard by 2025. In addition to that, the deal set up new greenhouse gas limits set by the EPA and California’s Air Resources Board. The fuel economy regulations were in fact governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One major term of the deal was for automakers to be subject of a mid-term review to determine whether the final years of the program, the 2022-2025 model years, were feasible. Some automakers and industry insiders have argued that falling gasoline prices have lowered demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, thus making achieving the standards more difficult for them financially.

The words Fuel Economy on a vehicle speedometer with a red needle racing past numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 MPG as the automobile achieves an improved efficiency rating as mandated by the government

Shortly before Donald Trump was inaugurated as the President of the United States of America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  finished their review regarding fuel efficiency standards. The EPA then concluded the proposed standards did not need to be adjusted until at least 2025.

In other words, they are well on their way to becoming law. However, automakers have different ideas.

Many automakers have criticized the recent EPA ruling and CAFE standards as a maneuver from the Obama administration to lock greenhouse gas emissions standards.

The CAFÉ standards state that US automakers are required to meet what some have argued are strict fuel efficiency standards (to put it in perspective, the average across vehicle classes would be of 54.5MPG) through 2025. Now that Trump is president, many CEOs are hoping that the policy would loosen up a bit.

On Feb. 10, 2017, several executives including Mary Barra of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co.’s Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV boss Sergio Marchionne signed a letter that asked President Trump to return the review the policy, which they claim gives the new administration a chance to shape the ultimate outcome.

“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 executives said in the letter, referring to a mid-term review of the regulations.

Mechanic, checking the exhaust fumes of a diesel fuelled passenger car for emission gasses, such as carbon dioxide.

According to the press, automakers are claiming that the tougher requirements will raise costs beyond general public purchasing habits and “will supposedly put as many a million jobs up in the air” (Bloomberg).

It should be said that a recent report from the EPA did estimate that the US would fall short of the efficiency goals. This is thanks in large part the market trending for SUVs and trucks.

Also of not is that in recent years, all of the brands here have focused much marketing on greater mainstream adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles within the next few years.

As of this writing, the Trump administration, no stranger to making news hourly, hasn’t made an official response to the letter. However, Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt had said to the press he would return to the Obama-era decision, prior to the letter’s publication.

Author: Stefano De La Cuesta

Stefano is a 2013 Communications and Film graduate of Lake Forest College. Stefano has been a fan of cars since seeing countless car chases in movies and TV leading him to follow up on the culture surrounding them and the automotive industry. Always looking for new outlets to share his enthusiasm and passion for serious discussion about everything from Automotive to Arts, Stefano believes that anything creative, "good" or "bad" has something to say and can be enriching experiences that help us further understand the world.

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