Automakers have expended much time and treasure lobbying for government fuel efficiency standards to be watered down. Now it appears that they aren’t interested in scrapping the current standards altogether, but only in extending the deadlines for them to be applied.
The US administration has announced that the EPA will reopen the midterm evaluation of vehicle efficiency standards, a move that the auto industry supports. However, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has suggested a deal that would keep existing vehicle emission limits, but stretch out the timeline.
Alliance President Mitch Bainwol, speaking to the Center for Automotive Research (via Bloomberg), said the group does want the Midterm Review reopened. So far, however, the lobbying group has not disputed the science behind the EPA’s Technical Assessment Report, which was issued a year ago.
Bainwol said the goals of increasing fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions are not in dispute. “There is a profound consensus perspective on fuel economy and greenhouse gases,” he wrote. “The only issue is the degree of the slope.”
Simply dropping current fuel economy standards would surely be counter-productive for automakers. They have already invested huge sums in meeting the current standards, which were proposed in 2012. They also have no stomach for a battle between federal regulators and state agencies such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Fourteen states have chosen to adopt California’s tougher emissions rules, and all 14 state attorneys general have announced that they will oppose federal attempts to weaken current EPA standards.