Auto Trade Group Attempts to Block EPA From Finalizing MPG Rules

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is making a last-minute effort to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s move to finalize fuel economy standards through 2025.

Representing Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Corp, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG, the Alliance on Monday urged congressional negotiators to include language in a short-term budget resolution that would bar President Obama from finalizing rules before leaving office on Jan. 20.

Under law, the EPA had to decide by April 2018 whether to modify the 2022-2025 model year vehicle emission rules requiring average fleet-wide efficiency of more than “50 miles per gallon” – actually high 30s on window stickers. Instead, the agency abruptly announced last week it would end the public comment period by Dec. 30, and move to lock in the rules before the new administration takes office.

“EPA’s sudden and controversial move to propose auto regulations eight months early — even after Congress warned agencies about taking such steps while political appointees were packing their bags — calls out for congressional action to pause this rulemaking until a thoughtful policy review can occur,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance.

Even if automakers were successful in adding the rider to the budget resolution, President Obama could decide to veto the funding bill.

SEE ALSO: Obama Administration Acts to Lock in 2025 Emissions Standards Ahead Of Trump’s Taking Office

The automakers, who have offered “compliance” battery-electric vehicles, last month urged President-elect Donald Trump to review the rules, saying the nearly double fleet-wide fuel efficiency by 2025 impose significant costs and are out of step with consumer preferences.

Should the EPA win out, Trump is expected to resist their decision. He has been skeptical over evidence of climate change, and has promised to block regulations that could unduly burden companies.

If that’s the case, Trump could launch a rule-making process to upend the EPA standards and other powers the federal agency can exercise. The 2022-2025 fuel economy standards could be weakened; the new president could also seek legislation from Congress to soften the fuel-economy and emissions regulations.

Any move by the new Trump administration to overturn the EPA’s decision would likely be lawsuits filed by environmental groups.

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