I told you on the air this was going to happen, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. Automakers are urging President-elect Donald Trump to reconsider tough emissions and fuel economy regulations put into place by the Obama administration.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wrote a letter to Trump’s White House transition team asking for relief from the Obama administration’s 2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas rules. The group said it would be a “substantial challenge” for the industry to hit the requirements, which become more stringent starting with the 2017 model year.
“We live at a moment where technology and change are swamping the regulatory capacity to manage our emerging reality. Reform is imperative,” Alliance CEO Mitch Bainwol said in the letter, which was obtained by auto industry website Automotive News.
The Alliance argues that the current emissions rules will require billions of dollars in investment from the automakers. The group didn’t stop there, suggesting that expensive safety systems should also be cut from mandates to keep overall costs lower. I don’t see that happening, and not sure I want to. For me, safety will always be more important than fuel economy.
“As car prices rise, it becomes vital to look at the full cost of regulatory initiatives,” Bainwol said in the letter. “Well-meaning regulatory action risks increasing compliance costs to the point that additional safety and fuel-efficiency technologies put new vehicles out of financial reach of the average new car purchaser.”
Bainwol’s letter suggests the creation of a “presidential advisory committee” that would allow automakers to form rules alongside agencies like the “EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others.”
Trump has not responded to the letter as of the deadline for this newsletter, but his reaction could be favorable. Trump allegedly believes that man-made climate change is a hoax and has already appointed Myron Ebell, a known climate change skeptic, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell has also been tipped to lead the EPA when Trump takes office in January.
Some environmental groups have already vowed to block any changes to the greenhouse gas rules.
“If the Trump Administration seeks to roll back fuel-efficiency standards, which are highly popular with the American people and even have been supported by the auto industry, it will find us standing in the way,” Luke Tonachel, director of the Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an e-mail to Automotive News.