Front page of Global Automakers - featuring the plug no less

Front page of Global Automakers - featuring the plug no less

Strike when the iron is hot.  Isn't that what they say?

With the nomination of Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Priutt to take over the EPA, a person noted to be sympathetic to fossil fuel industry (and climate science denier), and set to take over the government organization with the new administration, all the major automakers have unified in their call to stop the EPA's review determination that the 2022-2025 C02/54.5 fleet MPG regulations should go ahead.

John Bozzella -

John Bozzella - "We look forward to working with EPA, NHTSA and CARB on harmonized standards that are achievable, cost-effective, and most importantly account for the needs of customers"

Currently, the proposal is in a 30 day comment period, before heading to President Obama's desk for "final approval".

Previously, the Auto Alliance, a shell organization for many of the major automakers, had called on Congress to step in and attempt stop the process before final approval was given, asking for more time to review the findings (in other words, to wait until the new Sheriff comes to town and changes the rules of engagement).

It was noted at the time that not all the big automaker names where attached to that list, there was some notable exceptions (like Nissan, Hyundai/Kia, Subaru etc.), but today the "Global Automakers" has called on the EPA to withdraw the proposal "or at the very least grant an extension of the current 30-day comment period."

This means that if you are an individual looking to protest/vote with your wallet on the matter, the only remaining major automotive choice is now Tesla Motors.

Given that the current 30 day comment window closes on December 30th (at which point the mandate can, and likely will, be finalized), and that the new administration takes over on January 20th, we imagine the automakers would like an extension of, oh...at least 3+ extra weeks.

The Global Automakers membership includes Aston Martin, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Maserati, McLaren, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota, somewhat ironically has concerns on "the objectivity and factual foundation of (the EPA's) action."  

Separately, the Auto Alliance consists of  General Motors, Ford, BMW, Mercedes, VW, Mazda, Volvo, FCA (Fiat), Jaguar/Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi and once again, Toyota.

Some new faces from the Global Automakers add to the Auto Alliance's earlier call for the EPA to withdraw final proposal for future GHG stndards

Some new faces from the Global Automakers add to the Auto Alliance's earlier call for the EPA to withdraw final proposal for future GHG stndards

Here is the statement issued by John Bozzella, President and CEO, Global Automakers (PDF can be found here):

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to rush forward with its Midterm Evaluation and issue a Proposed Determination on MY 2022-2025 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards undermines the important process the regulators and automakers agreed to in 2012 for establishing one harmonized national program for regulating GHG and fuel economy. Global Automakers and its members remain committed to the goals of one national program and therefore are asking the EPA to withdraw its Proposed Determination, or at the very least grant an extension of the current 30-day comment period.

“Emissions standards going forward were to be based on a data-driven and objective review in which the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are aligned every step of the way.  The hasty decision to accelerate the EPA process, taken in the waning days of an Administration, raises serious concerns about the objectivity and factual foundation of their action.

“We look forward to working with EPA, NHTSA and CARB on harmonized standards that are achievable, cost-effective, and most importantly account for the needs of customers.”

One will note the language for the "harmonization" of standards and the inclusion of CARB is once again clearly noted in the statement...unlike the actual detailing of which automakers make up the group.

Holdouts like Nissan, Hyundai/Kia and Subaru join request for EPA to step down on MPG mandate

Holdouts like Nissan, Hyundai/Kia and Subaru join request for EPA to step down on MPG mandate

The letter sent to the EPA, and current administrator Gina McCarthy highlights the groups concerns (highlighting is ours):

"...the EPA and NHTSA have consistently been very transparent about the timeline for the Midterm Evaluation. The final NHTSA rule and EPA determination were expected by April 1, 2018, with a proposed rule and a proposed determination expected in the summer of 2017

Seemingly inexplicably, the EPA has changed course dramatically, and has issued its Proposed Determination: (a) far ahead of the previously-established schedule, (b) separately from NHTSA’s fuel economy rulemaking, and (c) with a truncated, less than 30-day comment period following publication in the Federal Register.6

In doing so, the agency has seriously prejudiced our ability to provide meaningful input on the Proposed Determination. Global Automakers believes that the EPA’s acceleration of its proposed determination process so that it no longer aligns with NHTSA’s rulemaking was improper and contrary to the spirit and intent of the joint national fuel economy/GHG program.

The EPA should issue its proposed determination at the same time that NHTSA releases its notice of proposed rulemaking on the MY2022-2025 CAFE standards (which we expect in the summer of 2017), and the two agencies should then jointly issue the final rule/determination. Doing so will ensure that the actions of both agencies are coordinated and harmonized to the greatest extent possible. Divorcing the rulemaking processes of the two agencies (as the EPA has done) raises the risk that each will come to different conclusions concerning the appropriate stringency of the standards and the specific compliance mechanisms automakers can employ to achieve the standards."

Scott Pruitt to take over EPA administration in 2017

Scott Pruitt to take over EPA administration in 2017

The request to the EPA cites the lack of study time as its main issue with the EPA's determination:

"Setting the acceleration of the Proposed Determination aside, the 30-day comment period will make it extremely difficult for automakers to provide meaningful comment on the document. The Proposed Determination and the accompanying Technical Support Document that were released on November 30 consist of almost 1,000 pages, and rely on almost 1,100 studies.

This material—which includes a number of significant new assumptions, analyses and studies—forms the basis of the EPA’s determination that the GHG emission standards for MY2022-2025 should remain unchanged....Thirty days (concluding on December 30, 2016) simply is not enough time to do so—especially given that the comment period includes the holiday period between Christmas and New Year’s, during which most manufacturers are closed and staff are on holiday. "

Despite all skirting of the real issue on the subject, from both the automakers and the EPA, we all know what is happening - but we might as well say it nonetheless.

The EPA is currently rushing through the technical hurdles that it needs to lock in 2022-2025 regulations that it had thought it had a lot more time to enact; and the automakers - suddenly buoyed by an unexpected regime change in government, are opportunistically trying to best capitalize on that change as quickly as possible.

On can read the entire "Request for an Extension" from the Global Automakers here.

Hat tip to Brian S!