Trump opens the door to weaker vehicle standards

President Donald Trump will tell auto workers and executives near Detroit on Wednesday that his administration will examine the standards into 2018.

Automakers have agreed that cheap gas and the rise in popularity of utility vehicles will make the current standards almost impossible to achieve.

The White House, Washington, D.C.

On a related topic, California will not see its Clean Air Act waiver, which allows it to set potentially higher vehicle standards than the federal government, revoked "right now", the official said. If those regulations remain intact, automakers will still be compelled to produce more fuel efficient cars regardless of any changes at the federal level. The agency will restore the original timeline set in agreement with carmakers, which was to determine by April 2018 whether the standards for 2022 through 2025 are still feasible, the White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity ahead of Trump's announcement.

"The process was very short-circuited", said the Trump administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly before the president's speech.

Thirteen other states making up more than 40 percent of the auto market have signed on to California's program.

But with automakers required to be selling cars and trucks that collectively average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, regulators said in July that automakers were likely to fall short, to 46.3 mpg. "There was a lot of data that was submitted, and I think it is fair to say the Obama EPA just ignored it".

Robbie Diamond, president of Securing America's Future Energy, a campaign group, said there was "no reason for environmentalists, automakers and conservatives to risk a nuclear war over these rules".

The WRI said relaxing the rules would be in the step in the wrong direction.

Officials in numerous states that have embraced California warn Trump's move threatens to rattle their ability to pursue their own vision of environmental regulation. The review we are referring to was solicited last month by a group of 18 automakers, which range from Aston Martin to Ford and General Motors.

Rolling back the standards would also boost USA oil consumption by 1.2 billion gallons and increase US carbon pollution by 540 billion tons over the lifetime of the model-year 2022-2025 cars. Trump is expected to announce the review in a speech near Detroit, the heart of the nation's auto industry. Also, at this time, there are no immediate plans to go after the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) individual vehicle emissions rules.

Trump administration officials are working to downplay the tensions with California over the issue, suggesting that perhaps the state will be open to embracing whatever new mileage standard Trump's EPA develops.

Analysts said that while reopening the review would create an opportunity to relax the planned standards, it did not necessarily mean the 2012 deal would be weakened.

  • Leroy Wright