Trump backs down on fuel economy standards, proposes compromise figures

Car Exhaust 2

The War on Fuel Economy Standards took another twist, as the Trump administration backed down from its plan to freeze fuel economy standards. “People familiar with the process” told the Wall Street Journal that the administration is now considering calling for a 1.5% annual increase in corporate average fuel efficiency. This target would be a compromise between the 4.7% annual gains under the existing Obama-era rules and the freeze at 2019 levels of around 37 mpg that the administration had proposed.

The progress of the war so far: immediately following Trump’s election, US automakers urged him to “reform” federal fuel economy, emissions and safety standards; the administration enthusiastically complied, announcing plans to water down the standards, and set up a conflict with California, which enforces its own, more stringent regulations; in 2019 the automakers decided Trump had gone too far, and sent him another letter warning that an overzealous regulatory rollback threatened their profits; Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW struck a compromise with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that would allow them to improve efficiency by 3.7% per year; GM, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler announced that they would side with the Trump administration, and endorse its radical rollback after all.

Got all that? So now it seems that we’re in a bargaining phase – the administration will settle for a 1.5% annual increase, while California and the other 14 states that follow its standards will try to hold out for 3.7%. CARB responded to the administration’s proposal, saying that a 1.5% annual increase wouldn’t be enough for the state to meet federal air quality standards.

The administration’s rules are expected to be finalized by the end of this year, and some still hope for a compromise that will avoid a legal battle that could end up in the US Supreme Court. “I’m…the eternal optimist,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Once everybody sees our final CAFE regulation, everybody will see that it makes sense and maybe we won’t have litigation on that part of it.”

Sources: Automotive News, Wall Street Journal

  • Mark N

    Yep – Republicans are scientifically illiterate and have no clue about global warming.

    • Stephen Lee Terry

      Well…that statement has more to it than you wanted to use. The majority of Scientists in 3 recent studies are Democrat (96% reporting), so it tells me who is greedy or self serving and not making progress for this nation. More worried about how those who make money are going to be taxed to give money to those who want to spend time on their vague sciences, cell phones, and social networks rather than contribute to society as a taxpayer. Time to rethink scientists at all as a positive and realizable resource for effective change. Time for Engineers to retake the helm.

  • Stuart McColl

    Idiot Trump ! He has no clue what he is doing in this area of energy. Here he is going way too far to satisfy a constituency of hydro carbon lobby and GM/Toyota he already has aligned with him … stumbling by over servicing what GM and Toyota asked for in the first place. Trump then makes enemies of anyone … and there are a lot of us … who believe in an electric transport future. And for what ? Stupid move on Trump’s behalf.

    • Junior Utah

      Stuart, your the idiot. Electric transport future. So how r u going to charge everything when the power grid its tapped out. Everyone on California needs to plug in its transportation. So what then we pay 10,20,30 a kilowatt what planet do u live on. We cant even build a freeway but were gonna put power all over for truckers and people to charge up. U must have a college degree and know everything. Get some real life experience.

      • Stuart McColl

        I guess I’m just tired of breathing tail pipe emissions and hope for a future where my children and grand children don’t have to breath tail pipe emissions. We in WA State … along with 12 other states are following CA’s lead. I didn’t hear you come up with a better idea than more tail pipe emissions. I think we can do better. If you have a better idea than more of the same … then I’m certainly interested. Thanks !

    • Stephen Lee Terry

      Here is the rub. First – the cost of infrastructure alone is a hurdle that is hard to grasp the cost and delivery on. Follow that by the battery making process. Right now, making the batteries and recharging vehicles skew over the top of ICE. Its going to take a new type of storage battery system that can accept rapid charging (and readily available like a gas pump) while not using coal fired or natural gas fired plants to provide energy. Trump isn’t making enemies; he is being smart about it. You don’t charge more to a company and then tell them to also make a more costly and efficient product. That is socialist thinking at its best. Things are changing. Tesla, Nikola, Volvo, Ford and others are trying to make the change (and its working) on heavy rigs which emit the most pollution. But we are not the problem here in the USA. If you have traveled at all, it is China, India, Russia and others who pollute to the extreme including dumping all their waste into the oceans and rivers or burying in the soil where it gradually feeds into the aquifers water tables and the world at large suffers from their destructive ways. My grandsons may finally see the flip. All I can hope for is to provide positive support for those industries that do make strides to impact emissions.

  • bob

    Trump, leading us into the 20th century. To his followers, it makes sense. BUT, is it the best way to move forward and save the planet?
    Let’s hope for a change in administration next year with a view to a better planet.