Trump Administration Delays Obama's Draconian Fuel Efficiency Standard

FILE - In this June 30, 2016, file photo, gas is pumped into vehicles at a BP gas station in Hoboken, N.J. The Obama administration has decided not to change government fuel economy requirements for cars and light trucks despite protests from automakers. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

President Trump will be in Michigan today and while there he will do a solid for US auto manufacturers:

A senior White House official confirmed Tuesday that President Trump will reexamine fuel efficiency standards set in place during the Obama administration, opening the door for the regulations to potentially be reduced in the coming years.

The Environmental Protection Agency ignored “a voluminous record of data” when it determined earlier this year that the regulations were appropriate, and the agency plans to formally rescind that decision on Wednesday, the official said. The EPA will then restart a review of the fuel efficiency rules that is expected to be complete in 2018.

“We’re going to pull back the EPA’s determination because we don’t think it’s right and we’re going to spend another year looking at the data in front of us,” the official said. Trump will make the announcement Wednesday during a visit with automakers in Detroit.


The EPA driven standard is 54.5 mpg for the fleet. The only way this can be achieved is by requiring more hybrid and electric cars to be made thereby creating a market for a hipster vehicle that has not caught on.

The backstory here is one of Obama administration duplicity and mindless adherence to predetermined outcomes. It is also a case study in how craven industry leaders were in confronting Obama.

A senior White House official told reporters Tuesday that the review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas standards would fulfill a promise Obama made in 2012 to the industry. The EPA developed the standards as a single program alongside the Department of Transportation’s fuel economy rules, popularly known as Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards.

Automakers agreed to comply with the standards — which get stronger through the 2025 model year — in exchange for a formal review in 2018 into whether they’re still feasible for 2022 to 2025.

But the EPA under Obama completed that review in January, days before Trump’s inauguration, an action that automakers said violated their agreement.

In short, the automakers traded away their ability to litigate in exchange for a promise the Obama administration never had any intention of keeping.

The entire fuel efficiency standard has evolved from a reaction to the 1974 Arab Oil Embargo into federal micromanagement of the auto industry. Now it exists almost totally as a form of virtue enforcement when consumers are insufficiently virtuous in their choice of vehicles. Delaying this nonsensical exercise in federal overreach is a good start. The root cause of the problem, however, lies in the Congress. Unless Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell undertake action to strip NHTSA and the EPA from mindlessly ratcheting up the standards because they can, nothing is going to change in any substantive way.



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