The Obama administration is looking to lock in fuel economy standards before Donald Trump takes office in January.
This is happening as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to not change fuel economy and emissions standards through 2025.
Under law, the EPA must decide by April 2018 whether to modify 2022-2025 model year vehicle emission rules.
With the EPA’s action, it will now end a public comment period by Dec. 30, and could lock the rules in after that date and before the Obama administration leaves office.
Although widely published these will mean over “50 mpg,” the fleet average of new car window sticker values may be in the upper 30s compared to mid 20s today.
Automakers are nonetheless expected to oppose the rules as too expensive, although the EPA said “extensive technical analysis” shows they are on course to achieve the standards at “similar or even a lower cost” than projected in 2012 when the standards were released.
It is possible the Republican Congress or Trump administration could try to reverse or modify the EPA rules, but if they are locked in, it could make it tougher to do so.