Photo: AP

At a speech in Michigan to confirm that his administration planned to renew a review of vehicle emission and mileage standards, President Donald Trump said the following: “We’re setting up a task force in every federal agency to identify and remove any regulation that undermines American auto production.” That could affect the auto industry in countless ways, so what exactly does he mean?

Parsing Trump’s statements—flip flopping remarks, absurdities, and all—for truth is a difficult task alone. But since taking office the president has demonstrated a commitment to upholding promises he made on the campaign trail (the haphazardly-constructed Muslim travel ban is perhaps the most notable example).

Advertisement

But casting a wide enough net to cover literally “any” regulation pertaining to auto production is at least worth consideration.

Is he talking about the safety regulations that make modern cars far less prone to killing passengers and pedestrians than in decades past? If so, what does that mean for the trend toward autonomous driving? Is he talking about fuel economy and tailpipe emissions standards? Almost certainly, but to what extent? Does he mean OSHA and safety regulations at auto factories? Or environmental regs there too? Size and design regulations for cars? Import and export restrictions? We can’t say, because the president didn’t elaborate.

We asked the White House for clarification, but for now, it’s simply worth noting this is Trump’s record on auto regs.