EPA will announce rejection of Obama vehicle fuel efficiency rules


Automakers want rule changes to address lower gasoline prices and a shift in U.S. consumer preferences to larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles.

Auto industry executives have not publicly sought specific reductions in the requirements negotiated with the Obama administration in 2011. But they have urged Pruitt and U.S. President Donald Trump to revise the Obama standards to make it easier and less costly to meet complex targets, which vary depending on the size of vehicles and whether they are classified as cars or trucks.

Overall, the Obama rules called for roughly doubling by 2025 to about 50 miles (80 km) per gallon the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles sold in the United States. But the Obama rules included a review by April 2018 as to whether the final years were feasible or not.

By declaring the Obama rules “not appropriate, the Trump administration can reopen the process of setting vehicle targets agreed to by automakers in 2011.

Pruitt is expected to declare that the existing 2022-2025 model year rules on fuel economy must be revised but he is not expected to immediately propose new requirements, people familiar with the plans said. They asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the news media.

The so-called Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules sought to double the average fuel efficiency of automakers’ fleets, or complete lineup of cars and light trucks, to about 50 miles (80 km) per gallon by 2025.

While automakers want relief from the Obama rules, they are pressing the administration to avoid a battle with California and maintain a single, nationwide set of fuel efficiency requirements.

In New York, Toyota North America Chief Executive Jim Lentz said at an Reuters event on Thursday that automakers would face higher costs if they had to manage fuel economy by each individual state.

Lentz said individual state emissions requirements could result in Toyota getting “towards the end of the year and I no longer can sell SUVs,” depending on the state’s fuel economy numbers. “It would be an absolute nightmare for us to figure out.”

When fuel rules were written in 2011 amid high gas prices, fuel efficiency was the second highest attribute considered by Toyota buyers, Lentz said. Today it is 10th.

Source : CNBC