The relationship between U.S. automakers and Donald Trump has been weird from the outset of his presidency. Particularly, auto execs have cozied up to this administration, notching a minor victory in relaunching a review of the CAFE standards mandated by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Now, they’re asking Trump to pump the brakes.
Trump’s administration has bandied about the idea of revoking California’s waiver to set its own vehicle emissions standards, and as Axios reports, the auto industry’s not down. Citing several anonymous officials involved in discussions with Trump’s team, Axios says:
The auto industry has lobbied the Trump administration to redo a review of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, but they don’t support throwing out the standards altogether. Top industry executives have also urged the administration not to revoke a waiver for California to issue more aggressive standards.
With the industry already forecasting a downturn, more instability from regulatory agencies could wreak further havoc. As Jalopnik reported in March, backing away from the fuel efficiency standards or revoking California’s waiver to implement stricter rules—also enshrined by several states across the U.S.—would be counterproductive for the industry.
“There had been periods [where California] had more stringent standards than the feds,” Therese Langer, Transportation Program Director at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, told me, “and what would happen historically there is, the feds—belatedly—would catch up.”
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And that’s to the benefit of the industry: having to plan product lines years in advance, there needs to be something consistent.
“The auto industry has to know that would be catastrophic,” Langer previously told me about the efficiency standards being potentially rolled back.
That makes sense. And now it seems the industry’s realized that Trump’s administration isn’t kidding around.