Trump to Announce Review of Vehicle Emissions Rules: Sources


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump will formally announce a review of the vehicle fuel efficiency rules locked up at the end of the Obama administration when he meets with automaker bosses this week, according to two sources informed about the matter.

Trump’s move would be a victory for automakers after months of pressuring the new administration to reconsider the rules, which they say would be too expensive, could cost jobs and are out of step with the vehicles that consumers they want to buy.

Trump will visit an autonomous vehicle testing facility in a Detroit suburb on Wednesday and will meet with the CEOs of several American automakers there.

His administration has decided to review the feasibility of the vehicle emissions rules, which apply to the years 2022 to 2025, sources told Reuters last week. Former President Barack Obama moved to keep them in the last days of his administration.

Reuters reported on the planned announcement on March 3. A formal notice from US regulators to restart the review is expected to be released on Wednesday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that the trip focuses on “job creation and automobile manufacturing … highlighting the need to remove burdensome regulations that unnecessarily hamper significant job growth.”

The CEOs of General Motors Co (N :), Ford Motor Co (N 🙂 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (MI 🙂 (N 🙂 will meet with the President in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, along with senior officials from Japan and German automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp (T :), Nissan Motor Co (T 🙂 and Daimler AG (DE :).

Trump will hold a panel discussion with CEOs and then give a speech to auto workers and others.

The US Environmental Protection Agency had until April 2018 to decide whether the standards were viable under a “midterm review,” but pushed its decision to a week before Obama left office in January.

Automakers argue that vehicle emissions rules, which would raise average fleet fuel efficiency to more than 50 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025 from 27.5 mpg in 2010, will impose significant costs and are out of step with consumer preferences. They argue that they need more flexibility to comply with the rules amid low gas prices.

Environmentalists, who favor the standards, say the rules will cut fuel costs and greenhouse gases and have vowed to sue if the Trump administration weakens them.

Trade groups representing automakers, including General Motors, Volkswagen AG (DE 🙂 and Toyota, have asked the EPA to withdraw the determination ending the rules, which stem from a 2011 agreement the industry reached with the US government.

Changing the 2022-2025 fuel rules will require a lengthy regulatory process, and environmentalists and Democratic state attorneys general are likely to sue if the Trump administration significantly weakens the requirements.

The Obama administration said in 2011 that the changes would boost fuel efficiency to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon across the fleet, saving motorists $ 1.7 trillion in total fuel costs over the life of the vehicles. vehicles and would cost the auto industry about $ 200 billion over 13 years. Fuel standards were a central part of Obama’s legacy in addressing climate change.

In July, the EPA estimated that the fleet would average just 50.8 mpg to 52.6 mpg in 2025 under the rules because Americans were buying more SUVs and trucks and fewer cars.

Automakers briefed on the meeting do not expect the EPA to take action this week to try to prevent California from setting its own vehicle emissions standards. A Trump administration official confirmed that he does not intend to address the California authority this week.

Reuters reported last week that the EPA is considering taking steps to reverse California’s exemption under the Clean Air Act that allows it to set its own greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles.

Trump has repeatedly met with CEOs of automakers since taking office and made boosting employment, especially in the auto sector, a top priority.