EPA Preemptive Strike on Car Mileage Seen Forcing Trump’s Hand – Bloomberg
The auto industry is “well positioned” to meet the 2022-2025 standards, the EPA said in signaling its intention to keep those requirements intact months earlier than expected. The agency’s action still must be finalized after a 30-day comment period that would close before Trump’s inauguration, but it could be undone by the new administration.
The move won an immediate rebuke from American automakers including General Motors Co., which was helped back from bankruptcy through the U.S. government’s multibillion-dollar Automotive Industry Financing Program during the 2009 financial crisis.
“It is deeply disappointing that eleventh-hour politics in a lame-duck administration has short-circuited a data-driven process for developing regulation,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president of government and community relations at Ford Motor Co., which didn’t go into bankruptcy during the crisis. “Ford and the industry stand ready to work with the next administration and Congress to find a way forward.”
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s main trade group, denounced the EPA’s action as an “extraordinary and premature rush to judgment.”
But Obama administration officials and environmentalists took a starkly different view, insisting there’s no reason to slow down because automakers have the technology to meet the targets now.
“It’s clear from the extensive technical record that this program will remain affordable and effective,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “This proposed decision reconfirms our confidence in the auto industry’s capacity to drive innovation and strengthen the American economy while saving drivers money at the pump and safeguarding our health, climate and environment.”
McCarthy’s comment echoes a technical assessment report issued in July by the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board. The agencies expressed an optimistic view about the industry’s ability to comply with Obama’s targets, which would boost average fuel economy in the U.S. to 50.8 miles per gallon by 2025, from 35.3 currently.