Trump Decision On Fuel Economy Rule Review Expected For Wednesday

President Donald Trump is expected to make the White House’s long-awaited announcement this Wednesday on the review of 2022-2025 fuel economy standards.

Two sources briefed on the situation told Reuters that Trump will be speaking with top automaker executives during a visit to Ypsilanti, Mich., a Detroit suburb. A White House official confirmed the visit, but not the agenda to be discussed.

The Trump administration had promised to look at the midterm review of the federal rules for the 2022-25 period, and is likely to extend out the public comment period that the Obama administration ended when finalizing the rules in January.

Similar to a meeting with Trump in late January, chief executives from Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and General Motors are expected to be at the meeting to voice concerns. Executives from Japanese and German automakers are likely to in attendance, too.

Along with ending the original plan to accept public feedback on the next phase through April 2018, automakers have been upset about the rules not being modified. Since the election, auto trade groups and executives have been reaching out to the Trump administration to soften those rules.

Corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and emissions reductions are progressively tightening up in the coming years, including the 2022-25 period. Automakers make the case that gasoline prices have stayed down since 2014, motivating car buyers to choose trucks, SUVs, and crossovers over small, fuel-efficient cars, hybrids, and plug-in vehicles.

The 2012 ruling by the Obama administration called for an average “54.5 mpg” by 2025; however that would be in the high-30s in mpg based on window stickers under the current rules, with automakers given the ability to trade credits and other factors going into the actual mileage ratings.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute reported that for new light duty vehicles sold in the U.S. during February, fuel economy averaged out to 25.1 mpg. TRI’s data shows that figure has stayed relatively flat over the past two years.

The federal standards may be different and more lenient to automakers. The Automotive News article cites the corporate average fuel economy rules being made based on 27.5 mpg having been reached in 2010. TRI reported fuel economy at slightly above 22 mpg for that model year.

That could strengthen the argument that automakers have been making over the fuel economy and emissions standards. The Trump administration, including recently enacted Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, have been taking a neutral position on the rules but had promised to review them and the public feedback process.

Trump has made comments to corporate executives about his administration’s commitments to scaling back government regulations and supporting job creation in manufacturing.

SEE ALSO:  Ford CEO Told Trump Fuel Economy Regs Jeopardize 1 Million Jobs

Ford CEO Mark Fields has made the case that the federal rules could force automakers to cut about one million jobs. Fields’ comments from a Center for Automotive Research study were criticized for focusing on one possible scenario outlined in the report and ignoring the rest of it.

Ford’s F-Series pickups have been the top selling light-duty vehicle in the U.S. for several years. The automaker has improved fuel economy in its pickups, but with the company’s listing of 18/24 in city/highway mileage, that drags down the overall CAFE standard.

Environment groups and Democratic members of Congress are likely poised to issue opposing statements to the Trump administration’s decision Wednesday.

Automotive News

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