Automakers oppose CAFE standards in comments to EPA

As expected, two automaker groups, the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and Global Automakers, have submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the fuel economy standards approved in the waning days of the Obama administration. California said it still plans to follow those standards, which call for a fleetwide average fuel economy of 51.4 mpg by 2025. The California stance potentially paves the way for a two-tier system, which everyone was trying to avoid.
The issue has been reopened because the 2012 action by the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) setting the 2025 standards called for a midterm review to be completed by April 1, 2018. Officials at those agencies finished the review early and announced in January 2017 that automakers were on track to meet the goals and that there would be no changes.
Automakers were startled and disappointed and urged President Trump early in his administration to reopen the midterm review. The president agreed, and the comments late last week are part of that process.
“Any misalignment between the market demands and the requirements will result in less affordable consumer choices, slowed sales, reduced fleet turnover, diminished fuel savings, and potentially lost jobs,” Global Automakers wrote in its comments.
NADA testified against the standards at an EPA hearing last year, saying that they do not reflect changing consumer preferences for SUVs and that vehicle affordability would be a problem if the standards were approved as written.
Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are generally sympathetic to industry concerns and have not hesitated to overturn other environmental initiatives created under Obama. But the possibility of two sets of standards could create a problem. The reason automakers agreed to the standards set in 2012 was to avoid two standards. Thirteen states, including Maryland, plus DC follow the California standards.
WANADA will continue to keep members informed on this important issue.

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