Automakers to New EPA Chief: Drop Obama’s CO2 Rules

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked Tuesday to have the EPA’s new Administrator Scott Pruitt withdraw the Obama Administration’s decision to lock in vehicle emissions rules through 2025.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the industry group representing 77 percent of U.S. auto manufacturers, wrote to Pruitt the decision was “the product of egregious procedural and substantive defects.” And, he added, it is “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis and a failure to engage with contrary evidence.”

Automakers have argued that the rules jeopardize over 1 million jobs because consumers won’t pay for the added expense of engineering fuel-efficient cars.

The EPA had until April 2018 to make a determination about the 2025 standards, but made its decision on Jan. 13 – just days before Obama left office in an attempt to lock in the rules or at least make them harder to overturn.

Bainwol’s letter follows a separate appeal to the Trump Administration earlier in February from the heads of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, along with the senior North American executives of Toyota Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and others urging President Trump to revisit the decision.

In 2011, Obama’s EPA targeted fuel efficiency of “54.5 mpg” in an agreement with automakers – a number that would actually amount to an average in the high 30s on window stickers. Savings of $1.7 trillion in fuel costs over the life of vehicles for consumers would cost the car companies an estimated $200 billion over 13 years, according to the administration.

With Americans preferring light trucks over passenger cars, the EPA in July revised its estimate of fleet fuel consumption to a range of 50.8 mpg to 54.5 mpg on average in 2025.

Gina McCarthy, the former head of the EPA under Obama, was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but noted in her January decision that the rules were “feasible, practical, and appropriate” and in “the best interests of the automobile industry.”

Automotive News