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Elham AbolFateh

Automobile

Automakers Send Letter to Trump about Plan to Lower Fuel-Economy Rules

Friday 07/June/2019 - 09:19 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
A group of 17 auto manufacturers sent letters to the Trump administration and California's governor، Gavin Newsom، on Thursday، asking that a compromise be reached between the Obama administration's mandate of a 54.5-mpg fuel-economy average by 2025 and the current administration's rollback of that mandate. The automakers say that they fear states may push through their own legislation with higher standards to counteract the new policy، essentially creating a bifurcated automotive market in the United States، which could increase the cost to manufacture vehicles for specific regions. The automakers are asking for a compromise between the EPA and the state governments، starting with California، which currently has the strictest standards. We’ll have more information on this story as it develops، as the Car News said.

In a reversal of the toughest fuel-economy mandates in U.S. history that were adopted during the Obama administration، the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump is advocating to abandon the much talked about 54.5-mpg passenger-car fuel-economy standard. Among other changes، it would also strip California’s ability to set its own emissions standards، instead focusing on market realities and prioritizing cost savings when setting new-car environmental standards. The agency acknowledges that its revised proposal would result in a 5 percent increase in CO2 emissions through 2026 and a 9 percent increase in CO2 emissions through 2035، but just a 1 percent increase in smog-forming emissions during the same time period.

The agency، in a proposed ruling jointly issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last Thursday، has never so explicitly favored economics to justify a new standard. The 978-page proposal states that the EPA wants to freeze Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets (which are set by NHTSA) and greenhouse-gas emissions (which are set by the EPA) at the 2020-model-year level. If approved، the EPA would retain the industry-wide average of 37 mpg for the nation’s fleet of passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2021 through 2026. Compare that to the Obama-era rule that mandated a rise to 46.7 mpg by 2025. The widely reported 54.5-mpg figure was from 2012، when the EPA first approved the current plan for requirements through the 2025 model year، and it only refers to passenger cars. The new proposed car average is 43.7 mpg. (All figures are based on older CAFE calculations and not current “real world” EPA estimates on new-car window stickers.)

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