Barely two days after his election, US automakers contacted the new president-elect to urge him to “reform” federal regulation of the industry, including fuel economy, emissions, autonomy and safety standards.
In a letter to the Trump transition team (via Automotive News), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers proposed that the new administration pause the ongoing midterm evaluation of the Obama administration’s 2025 greenhouse rules, among other recommended changes to the industry’s regulatory obligations.
“We live at a moment where technology and change are swamping the regulatory capacity to manage our emerging reality. Reform is imperative,” Alliance CEO Mitch Bainwol said in the letter. “As car prices rise, it becomes vital to look at the full cost of regulatory initiatives. Well-meaning regulatory action risks increasing compliance costs to the point that additional safety and fuel-efficiency technologies put new vehicles out of financial reach of the average new car purchaser.”
The auto industry must comply with regulations from an alphabet soup of government agencies, including the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The letter proposes the creation of a new “presidential advisory committee” to coordinate regulations. In particular, it notes that discrepancies between greenhouse gas rules administered by the EPA and mpg standards overseen by NHTSA have led to unneeded costs and “regulatory friction” that is already driving up vehicle costs.
The 2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas rules are a cornerstone of President Obama’s efforts to address climate change. Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax, and has promised a general rollback of environmental regulations.
At least one environmental group has promised to do what it can to resist the tide. “If the Trump Administration seeks to roll back fuel efficiency standards, which are highly popular with the American people and even have been supported by the auto industry, it will find us standing in the way,” said Luke Tonachel of the Natural Resources Defense Council.