Automakers ask Trump administration to reconsider emission standards

A group of 18 automakers including Ford, GM, Fiat, Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda have written a letter to the Trump administration asking it to reopen a midterm review of fuel efficiency standards. The standards, which were agreed to by automakers in 2012, were subject to a midterm review which was not scheduled to be completed until next year. However, after Trump won the election, Obama’s EPA administrator rushed through the review process and announced it was extending the fuel efficiency standards through 2025. Reuters reports:

The auto CEO letter asked Trump to reopen the midterm review “without prejudging the outcome” and praised Trump’s “personal focus on steps to strengthen the economy in the United States and your commitment to jobs in our sector.”…

The letter warned the rules could “threaten future production levels, putting hundreds of thousands and perhaps as many as a million jobs at risk.”

Automotive News reports automakers had hoped the midterm review would give them a chance to argue for some changes in the agreement based on changes in the market since it was made. Instead, the EPA rushed ahead in an effort to make it more difficult for the Trump administration to make any changes:

Just weeks ago, industry leaders were seizing on the surprise election of Donald Trump to appeal for even more time to deliberate the feasibility and economic costs of the program, in light of low gasoline prices, booming light-truck sales and tepid demand for hybrids and electric cars.

Instead, the EPA hit the fast-forward button with its proposal to keep the standards as they are, subject to a 30-day comment period. A final ruling, whose original deadline was April 2018, could now come within a month.

The new timeline makes it possible for Obama’s appointee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, to be the one who issues the final ruling.

The final decision was reached by the EPA on January 13th, a week before Trump took office. Changing the standards will require new EPA rule-making which could take a year or more to complete.