Automakers Rebuke Trump's Planned EPA Rollback

A coalition of automakers composed of Ford, General Motors, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and more delivered a letter to the White House on Thursday announcing that it did not approve of the far-reaching emissions and fuel economy rollbacks set in motion by the Trump administration, according to reporting by the New York Times. The letter stated that the collected automakers foresee the rollback of Obama-era regulations causing instability in the automotive market and could seriously hurt company profits.

Some of these automakers are dealing with a problem of their own creation as they asked for some regulatory breathing room over the last few years. Unfortunately, as the discussions between Washington and California have broken down, those same companies now see the coming storm as far worse than what is currently in place.

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If the White House follows through on its plan to roll back EPA regs to pre-Obama specs, some 14 states have already stated that a legal suit would be on the table. California’s Air Resource Board, for example, would institute its own fuel economy and emissions standards, more stringent than the federal minimum. The rollback would knock the planned 2025 corporate average fuel economy goal down from 54.5 mpg to about 37 mpg, among other planned regulations knockdowns.

By cleaving the country over automotive regulations, this rollback would effectively mandate that manufacturers would have to treat those 14 states as a new market with separate goals. The automakers are attempting to drum up legislative support for continuing a single unified EPA and CARB standard, stepping in to seek compromise between the White House and California.

From the New York Times:

Criticizing the president’s plan comes with risk for the automakers. The White House has courted their support for his moves, and, privately, some officials have said that they fear industry criticism could lead the president to retaliate by imposing tariffs on auto imports. That, too, could be painful, because many cars and components are now made or partly assembled across the border in Mexico or Canada.

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The thing is, these automakers are welcome to use the same fuel economy and emissions standards across the country. By sticking to the stricter standard that have been on the books for a number of years now, any car that meets CARB standards will also meet the national standards. This seems like a no-brainer to me.

Oh, it’s almost like the automakers are still interested in rolling back EPA regulations, but not quite enough to spark California and other states into a bifurcated automotive standards market. It’s a real thinker.

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Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.