Official: Trump Delays Decision On EPA Fuel Economy Standards

7 months ago by Christopher Smith 34

Things to do:  1) Enter stage beside “green” vehicle, 2) Set aside prior administration’s 2022-2025 CAFE/MPG mandate for more efficient and cleaner cars

Trump delays final decision on EPA fuel economy regs until next year

The President vows to make Detroit the “car capital of the world” while alluding to a big auto announcement happening next week.

President Trump Giving Speech

President Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of auto workers, Michigan officials, and a who’s-who of auto industry executives and CEOs today in a speech at the former Willow Run assembly plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In what felt more like a campaign rally, Trump said he wanted to make Detroit the car capital of the world while also welcoming foreign manufacturers – of which several were present at the event – to expand their U.S. operations.

Buried within the speech was his announcement that the current administration will postpone a final ruling on forthcoming mileage standards until 2018, allowing additional time for automakers and other groups to make their cases either for or against the 54.5-mpg standard by 2025.

Trump’s announcement doesn’t guarantee the standard set by the Obama administration will be rolled back. It reopens a request for review from automakers on the decision made in the closing days of the Obama presidency to solidify the 54.5 mpg standard. The final decision for that mandate wasn’t actually due until April 2018.

“Today I am announcing that we are going to cancel that executive action,” said Trump. “We are going to restore the originally scheduled mid-term review, and we are going to ensure any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories; we’re going to be fair.”

Trump’s choice to speak from the former Willow Run assembly plant isn’t lost on anyone in the auto industry. Originally built by Ford for aircraft production in World War II, it was eventually picked up by General Motors and became a sprawling complex of nearly five million square feet. Chevrolet staples such as such as the Corvair, Nova, Citation, and eventually the Caprice were manufactured at the facility, which also housed GM’s Hydramatic transmission production and the company’s powertrain factory and engineering center. The facility closed for good in 2010 following GM’s bankruptcy.

President Trump Giving Speech

It’s also likely no coincidence that GM today announced it will add or retain 900 jobs in Michigan over the next 12 months. In a press release using Willow Run as the dateline, GM Chariman and CEO Mary Barra said,

“The job commitments announced today demonstrate the confidence we have in our products, our people and an overall positive outlook for the auto industry and the U.S. economy.”

Barra was one of several automotive CEOs attending Trump’s speech at Willow Run.

Automakers argue that stringent fuel economy standards would stifle manufacturing jobs and go against public buying trends, which have overwhelmingly returned to less-efficient pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles. According to Automotive News, Ford CEO Mark Fields suggested that more than 1 million jobs could be lost if the current economy standards remain in place.

There is, of course, significant opposition to delaying the mileage decision, never mind potential roll backs that are all but guaranteed to take place given the Trump administration’s position on climate and other green initiatives. A recent report from Consumers Union debunks industry claims that tough fuel economy standards would drive up prices, and would actually do more harm than good if relaxed.

In a press release, Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said,

“Unlike other updates found in today’s vehicles – like new luxury, convenience and technology upgrades – fuel economy technologies are the only ones that pay for themselves. In our studies of the fuel economy standards, we found consumers could expect significant net fuel savings – up to $3,200 per car and $4,800 per truck – over the life of the vehicle, even with low gas prices.”

Trump also mentioned a “big announcement” pertaining to the auto industry near the beginning of the speech, coming next week. We will of course bring you the latest on that news as it develops.

Source: Automotive News, The Detroit News

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34 responses to "Official: Trump Delays Decision On EPA Fuel Economy Standards"

  1. Big Announcement:
    Tesla is acquiring the Willow Run Plant, and will build Pickups, Minibuses, and Semi’s there!

    Is that a big enough announcement?

  2. Vexar says:

    What is unfair about the EPA is it introduces competitive pressures that ICE makers feel is artificial to market demands. The big upset I’m hoping for is a mass market pickup truck. There is a local Tesla owner who sold his pickup truck and is managing to do his roofing contractor job out of his Tesla instead. He told us he is saving $700 in gas a month, so his Tesla is truly paying for itself. He installed a roof rack and has a folding ladder. Not everyone can be so audacious and nonconformist. When a truck exists that can be sold on cost of ownership, economics, and outperforms (naturally) comparably-sized trucks, that is when the wind is going to slip out of the sails of Mr. Big here. I get the feeling that day is coming in 2019 or 2020. I hope it does before the end of Trump’s term in office and those who sell trucks but not EV trucks are facing bankruptcy. GM, you can do this, and you should.

    1. Pete S says:

      That story about the contractor trading his Pickup truck for a Tesla is quite frankly more interesting than any other EV story today. Any chance you could write a more detailed account or story on this guy?

      1. ijonjack says:

        Working Trucks to me are Acceptable to a Degree. Although an EV Work truck would make more sense. The part of trucks that Bothers me is when people use these 3Ton Plus MONSTERS as “STATUS SYMBOLS” This must make them feel BIG, RICH & Powerful apparently , I’m Guessing ?? duuu …They never even put a Bicycle in the Bed for fear of Scratching it. So Here We go from one EXTREME to the Other EXTREME ..Because a TESLA “S” is NOT a Construction Work Vehicle.. Musk would you Please Build This Guy a TRUCK! BTW..If Tesla was to build Trucks ., They wouldn’t never Catch up to the Demand…..

        1. Stimpacker says:

          Yup, suburban CA is worse than Texas. Plenty of the sort that loves pickup trucks – with extra wide tires and extra large n loud exhaust. Pretty sure they won’t go for an electric truck.

          1. AlphaEdge says:

            They would laugh at the mere suggestion.

  3. Mister G says:

    How would stringent fuel economy standards stifle manufacturing jobs? I don’t see the connection between fuel economy and manufacturing jobs, unless it means less oil workers extracting oil??? Or is this an alternative fact?

    1. darth says:

      It seems like the opposite would be true. Consumers who spend less on gas would have more to spend in other sectors, thereby creating jobs.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      The manufacturers see things through the much smaller vacuum of a car’s sticker price, and how technology adds cost. Nowhere will we find estimates of money saved on fuel and maintenance, and the manufacturing economy that money could have driven. That would be away from the auto-makers, which naturally they don’t care about.

    3. speculawyer says:

      “Jobs” is just an attempt for a politically palatable reason for the deregulation.

      The real reason is that gas-guzzlers are much more profitable for automakers and thus they want to build & sell more gas-guzzlers.

  4. David Murray says:

    So.. Who’s idea was it to have him speak next to a Volt?

    1. Warren Hurd says:

      Nice picture ofor Trump and a Volt.

    2. DonC says:

      Yes, that was hilarious.

    3. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Yes, but next to the Volt (to its left), it was a Ford F-series truck.

      So, GM decides to show off its Volt and Ford decides to show off its new F-series truck.

      Now, we can clearly see which one is more series about its future PEV program.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:


  5. pjwood1 says:

    “due until April 2018”

    Suggest correction: “due by April 2018”, or “no latter than”.

    There is a lot of narrative suggesting EPA was not within its rights to rule before Trump. But the fact is they were:
    “The Phase 2 rulemaking laid out several formal steps in the MTE process, including: a Draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) issued jointly by EPA, NHTSA, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with opportunity for public comment no later than November 15, 2017; a Proposed Determination on the MTE, with opportunity for public comment; and a Final Determination, no later than April 1, 2018.”

    Thanks for this piece.

    1. DonC says:

      No kidding. Under the automakers’ reasoning you could get evicted if you sent your landlord the rent check a week early! LOL When it’s “due by” any time before works.

  6. DonC says:

    I think the decision was “postponed” because the Trumpets figured out that the EPA rules can’t be wished away, a final technical review is in fact final, and the unrevokable CARB waiver extends to 2025.

    Trump jobs claims may be great PR but in fact they’re a joke. Things are still the way they have been for eight years — white uneducated workers are losing their jobs and educated non-whites are gaining jobs. The February jobs report, which Trump things is so great, makes the point. Workers over 25 with at least a college degree gained 573,000 jobs. All other workers LOST 121,000 jobs.

    If you look at all the announcement I think GM has announced more job cuts than job additions. And most of the job cuts likely affect uneducated workers.

  7. ffbj says:

    It will hardly matter in stopping the rolling ev train, which is gathering steam, though it may slow it down some.
    A year from now we will clearly see how much demand there is for the Model 3, and how well that demand is being met. Which will put the lie to the oft repeated line that there is no demand for evs.
    More and more people will never return to lesser ice vehicle after they have an ev.

    The ice is a dying old technology. Sure you can keep it on life support, and extend it’s life for a few years, but it will eventually pass away.

    1. silversod says:

      Absolutely right, ICE has had it’s day, it will go the same way as steam trains etc, It’s past it’s sell by date.

  8. DonC says:

    BTW there is no such thing as a “54.5 MPG standard”. Under the current rule each and every vehicle gets a target based on its size. If manufacturers sell larger vehicles their “fleet standard MPG” goes down. Sell more smaller vehicles and it goes up.

    In the technical review the EPA concluded that the mix of larger and smaller vehicles would mean that the 54.5 MPG goal would not be achieved. And yes, that goal is far lower than what you see on the sticker. CAFE is based on the old drive cycle while the sticker is based on the new. So more like 40 or lower 40s.

    Not sure Trump understands any of this. He’s not a very bright man. Next he’ll be saying “No one know who complicated the EPA standards were!”.

  9. AlphaEdge says:

    > “He’s not a very bright man.”

    LOL! You don’t even have a clue. He has his issues, and many “goofs”, but he certainly is no dummy.

    1. DonC says:

      He’s dumb as a post. That doesn’t mean he’s not canny. Lots of con men are. But that’s not the same as smart.

  10. What a bag of bulls***. So it’s either green cars OR jobs? And of course green cars are against the trend, because ppl want fuel eating and stinking pickup trucks. Oh man, that is so sick! 🙁

  11. Thanh Lim says:

    Increase the gas tax to help pay for infrastructure. Get rid of the oil depletion credit that makes gas much cheaper.

    That would help EV adoption again.

  12. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So, in this conference, GM put its Volt on display but Ford puts its new F-series on display…

    Hmm… That is really telling on what the company is really trying to send as far as message is concerned.

    Bloomberg also had an interview on Barra at the event asking about the potential impact of EVs with Trump’s CAFE standard study.

    Barra’s response was (I am paraphrasing): We offer a full line of product to our customers and offer significant value. Our Bolt EV is ramping up and won the car of the year. The Volt sales are doing well. We would like to offer our customer choices on what they want to buy.

    So, if we want GM to offer more EVs, then start buying its PEVs and stop buying its ICE models. GM is making vehicles based on its OWN DEMAND. Tesla might get 400K reservations, but if people ONLY buy GM trucks and SUVs, then the message is that they don’t want GM EVs but only GM ICE cars.

    1. DonC says:

      I suspect the Bolt EV was on display because of autonomy.

  13. silversod says:

    WOW! 54.5 mpg by the year 2025, you would have trouble selling those mpg cars to the masses today in the UK.

    petrol is $6.82 a UK gallon here, the most popular selling cars today range from 83 mpg to 98 mpg.

  14. Shawn Marshall says:

    More CO2 is beneficial.
    CAFE standards = government dictated economy =

    Let the magic hand work.

    1. MikeM says:

      Shawn (magic hands) Marshall comes out from under his rock and reveals the meaning of life to us.

  15. Jim stack says:

    The REAL PRICE OF GAS is,about $10 to 15 a gallon, just look at Europe that taxes it and doesn’t subsidies it. If our governments fixes that 54 mpg will seem low.
    Teska and even FORD and GM are designing ekectric trucks. Even Chrysler has a new plugins van ready to come out. Ore,choices that are efficient and we,all win.

  16. Arnold Gordon says:

    Let’s hope these conniving automakers don’t fool Trump and take us all for suckers. If the slippery Detroit 3 slip, the Japanese and Koreans, and the Germans too, will be there to fill the void with their 54.5 mpg cars. And consumers will buy the more fuel efficient vehicles, which will not be the ones made in America.

    1. Arnold Gordon says:

      Unless American made cars and trucks were the real fuel efficiency champions, powered electrically.