Gasoline Donald Trump

Published on March 15th, 2017 | by Steve Hanley

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Trump Will Give Automakers Some Of What They Want But Not All

March 15th, 2017 by  
 

Unnamed sources with in the current administration say president Trump will give US automakers some of what they want but will not immediately roll back future CAFE standards when he makes a speech in Ypsilanti, Michigan later today.

Donald Trump

At issue is an action taken by the EPA just before the inauguration in January. Under the terms of an agreement between the EPA and the car companies made in 2011, the standard for corporate average fuel economy was supposed to rise to 54.5 mpg by 2025. A midterm review was scheduled to be completed by April 2018 to determine if that target was feasible.

Knowing full well that the incoming administration was going to gut the EPA and would be anxious to roll back CAFE standards across the board, the EPA decided to complete the midterm review 16 months early.

In doing so, the outgoing EPA made sure there was copious data and information on the record to support its finding that the proposed standard was in fact feasible. It lauded the car companies for exceeding the goals every year and found they were fully able to hit the 2025 target ahead of time.

For their part, the companies have been screaming that unless the standards are modified, they will drive up the price of cars, cause more than a million workers to be laid off, and force Americans to buy vehicles they don’t want. They might even be responsible for the sinking of the Titanic and the heartbreak of psoriasis.

What Trump will do is reinstate the April 2018 review date, giving the car companies another year to convince EPA administrator Scott Pruitt that the 2025 target is not feasible. The problem for the administration is that is must now govern, rather than just issue a blizzard of Tweets. In the arcane and mysterious world of the law, undoing an administrative finding requires proof that an agency has acted without any reasonable basis. The outgoing EPA did everything in its power to document the reasons for its action.

Many people have been anticipating a smackdown of the California Air Resources Board by the new administration, but the confidential source says that’s not going to happen, at least not yet. Mary Nichols, the head of CARB, said in a phone interview with Automotive News, “We’re not going to refuse to participate in the newly-reopened review process. We’ll be there and we’ll be active.”

But Nichols made it clear that the administration and the car companies should not expect California to abandon its core principles. “We have the technical and legal ability to run a program that recognizes where electrification of vehicles is headed,” she said. “We’re trying to put together a mix of incentives and regulations to move the entire industry in this direction. This is what we’re going to do.”

Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, sounded a conciliatory note. “My goal is to bring permanent peace between California, Michigan and the rest of the country and have everybody working together toward strong fuel economy standards,” Dingell said. “That was the beauty of the process that President Obama established and the agreement that was reached.”

Now we will see if Trump can actually govern, which involves taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders,  instead of merely dictating by executive order like a tyrant on a gilded throne.

Source: Automotive News

 





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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.



  • For their part, the companies have been screaming that unless the standards are modified, they will drive up the price of cars, cause more than a million workers to be laid off, and force Americans to buy vehicles they don’t want. They might even be responsible for the sinking of the Titanic and the heartbreak of psoriasis.

    It’s amusing that the European companies in the group are all already barreling ahead with big electrification plans anyway. I guess they see the writing on the wall and are relishing the opportunity to gobble up the market share of the Big Two Point Five that Tesla doesn’t take.

  • CogWheeler

    It’s the buy vehicles “that Americans don’t want”, that jives to all the other false narratives. The purse strings are tight, for many Americans. It shouldn’t just be businesses of scale, like utilities and delivery services that have the resources to end run around the auto-makers for their electrics. Consumers want them for the same reasons, and to this day have no idea how powerful they can be.

    Trump’s fossil cabinet is out to make autos expensive again.

    • Steve Hanley

      What? No way. man. Trump stands up for the little people — or so he claims.

  • airchompers

    Thank goodness, these regulations are completely the wrong way to reduce fuel consumption (and i don’t even think that should be the goal). Why can’t we just implement a fuel tax or better yet a sensible renewable energy standard (i.e algae based biofuel and not ethanol?).

    It’s completely ludicrous that it’s ‘better’ (from a CAFE perspective) for Toyota to sell a 24 mpg RAV4 than a 27 mpg V6 Camry. And that a Corolla missing a CAFE standard from 1 mpg is comparable to an F150 missing the standard by 1 mpg (in terms of fines, after adjusting for production volumes) even though the fuel consumption difference between 53 and 54 mpg is much smaller than the difference between 24 and 25 mpg.

    Besides, it’s good policy to let people get the things they value and not eat into the potential for surplus value. I’d be willing to work harder to drive a Camaro SS than a Toyota Prius C and if I’m willing to put in the extra hours at work to pay for the extra tires, gas, ect. then it’s a good thing – the Camaro SS generates more economic activity than the Prius C. Now if we could just get the price of gas to reflect its cost, then we’d have a chance of coming to a better equilibrium.

    Glad to see it go. Now if we could just get emissions reciprocity with Japan / the EU we’d be set.

    And besides, electrification is the clear way forward. If people want to burn gas, just let them do so. Besides, the gas tax would hit the right behavior (everyone’s) not just new car buyers. There’s a problem IMO when someone thinks its cost effective to drive their 2001 Suburban 20 miles to get cupcake wrapper rather than doing without (and making a cake or whatever) – CAFE doesn’t address it like a gas tax addresses it.

    • Steve Hanley

      Excellent input. Pretty much agree with all of it. The problem is that taxes are political. There is a reason why the federal gas tax has not changed in 20 years.

      70 years ago, the European nations decided to tax vehicles according to engine size and/or horsepower. Therefore, European cars tended to have small, efficient engines. America taxed cars based on sales price, so we tended to get cheaply built cars with enormous engines.

      Politics and rationality seldom meet.

  • Marc P

    “they will drive up the price of cars, cause more than a million workers to be laid off, and force Americans to buy vehicles they don’t want.”

    The auto manufacturers took a page out of Trump’s strategy book: “Just keep saying it and eventually people will think it’s true” !

  • bioburner

    Well I sure wish Trump would give me what I want….That would be him and his cronies vacating Washington. But time will tell if Pruitt and Trump change the CAFE requirements.

  • Rich E

    It would nice if they would remove the CAFE standards and let the marketplace drive the direction.

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