Ford and other major automakers are lobbying president-elect Donald Trump and the EPA to roll back emissions and fuel-efficiency standards, which the industry says are neither achievable nor cost-effective.
Last week the EPA proposed leaving the emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 in place. These require automakers to double passenger cars and light trucks’ fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
This action happened earlier than expected — the EPA was slated to reassess the fuel economy standards next year — and is likely part of the agency’s effort in recent weeks to push through environmental regulations before Trump takes office in January.
In response, the Association of Global Automakers, which represents vehicle manufacturers, original equipment suppliers, and other automotive-related trade associations, has asked the EPA to withdraw its proposed determination, or at least grant an extension of the current 30-day comment period.
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to rush forward with its Midterm Evaluation and issue a Proposed Determination on MY 2022-2025 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards undermines the important process the regulators and automakers agreed to in 2012 for establishing one harmonized national program for regulating GHG and fuel economy,” said Global Automakers president and CEO John Bozzella in a statement.
“Emissions standards going forward were to be based on a data-driven and objective review in which the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are aligned every step of the way. The hasty decision to accelerate the EPA process, taken in the waning days of an Administration, raises serious concerns about the objectivity and factual foundation of their action.”
The EPA and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration finalized the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) program in 2012. To get automakers and the United Auto Workers union to sign on to the rules, the federal agencies agreed to conduct a mid-term review, which began this summer.
Ford CEO Mark Fields, in an interview last week with Bloomberg, said the EPA’s action will disrupt the mid-term review. He also said Ford plans to lobby Trump to soften the rules, which, as they now stand will hurt profits by forcing automakers to build more electric vehicles than are warranted by customer demand.
“What happened was through eleventh-hour politics, it short-circuited a data-driven development of regulations,” Fields told Bloomberg.
Automakers have repeatedly told lawmakers that the low price of gasoline is driving consumers to SUVs and other less fuel-efficient vehicles. Achieving the future fuel efficiency standards will be too difficult and costly for the industry to achieve, the Auto Alliance has warned.
And now the trade group has asked lawmakers to include language in a short-term spending bill that blocks the EPA from approving the 54.5 mile-per-gallon rules, as reported by Washington Examiner.