In a not surprising move, President Donald Trump announced today that his administration will reopen a review into the 2025 fuel economy standards set by the EPA before the end of President Barack Obama's term.
“We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again. There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car,” said Trump at an event in the former Willow Run bomber factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan - soon to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles.
"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people. We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
In the closing days of President Obama's second term, the EPA announced that it would keep the strict standards that will require automakers to raise their fleetwide fuel economy average to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Automakers cried foul, saying the upcoming standards are costly and out of touch with the current market (i.e. low gas prices and people gobbling up crossovers, pickups, and SUVs).
It is expected that the 54.5 mpg average will drop, but no one is sure how much it would drop.
Reaction to this announcement has been mixed. Automakers and lobby groups approve of this move as it allows them to focus on building vehicles people want, instead of being pushed into building vehicles that will not sell.
"The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," said Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the AutoAlliance, an industry lobby group that represents a number of automakers including Ford and GM.
Other groups are not so pleased with this move.
"Today's announcement of backtracking on vehicle standards for model years 2022-2025 puts at risk tens of billions of dollars of fuel savings for consumers and big reductions in tailpipe emissions," said Therese Langer, transportation program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, in a statement.
"Any delay in settling efficiency standards introduces uncertainty that will disrupt manufacturers' product planning. What is certain is that technological stagnation is not a recipe for continuing the remarkable success our domestic manufacturers have achieved in recent years."
Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts tells Reuters this move could actually hurt consumers.
"Filling up their cars and trucks is the energy bill Americans pay most often, but President Trump's roll-back of fuel economy emissions standards means families will end up paying more at the pump," said Markey