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GM, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler Side with Trump on Fuel Economy

GM, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler Side with Trump on Fuel Economy
(Photo Credit: Ken Lund, Flickr Creative Commons)

General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, several smaller automakers, and the Association of Global Automakers plan to side with the Trump administration in a lawsuit over gas mileage rules, according to a filing with a US appeals court this week.

Obama administration rules called for reaching a fleet-wide fuel efficiency of 46.7 miles per gallon on average by 2026, Reuters reported. Trump proposed freezing the federal standard next year at around 37 miles per gallon.

Over the summer Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda had reached a voluntary agreement with the California Air Resources Board to increase the average fuel economy of their fleets from 2021 levels by 3.7% per year, reaching an average of nearly 50 mpg by 2026, the Detroit News reported. In August, several outlets reported that Mercedes-Benz and an unnamed automaker were preparing to sign on as well.

A senior Trump advisor invited GM, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler to the White House in July and urged them to support the president’s initiative, the New York Times reported. This week, Mazda, Nissan, Kia, and Subaru joined the group of automakers backing Trump, according to Reuters.

In September, EPA and DOT officials announced plans to revoke California’s authority to set auto emissions standards under the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Defense Fund, other environmental groups, and a coalition of cities and states including California filed a lawsuit “to stop the Trump administration from interfering with states’ long-standing authority to reduce dangerous pollution from cars.” The governors of Minnesota and New Mexico said they planned to adopt California’s rules.

“In general, every automaker wants easier standards, but Ford et al. decided to make peace with California’s demanding requirements because they would have rules to follow now instead of waiting to see the outcome of the Trump-California battle,” Dale Buss wrote for Forbes.

The fight is dividing the auto industry, Keith Lang pointed out in the Detroit News. What this all means for fleet management in the United States remains unclear as well.

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