US President Donald Trump confirmed today that the Environmental Protection Agency will reopen its originally-planned midterm review of federal CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, reports Automotive News.
Trump made the announcement while addressing hundreds of autoworkers, and executives from major automakers like Ford CEO Mark Fields, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. When the CAFE standards were originally set in 2011, the EPA had planned a review to assess whether a target fleet-wide average of 54.5 miles-per-gallon was achievable for automakers by 2025. But the review – slated to take place this year or next – was rushed through under the Obama administration before Donald Trump took office.
This future midterm review of the federal CAFE standards won’t necessarily reduce the mandated fuel-economy average, “but it does give automakers the opportunity to push for relief by lobbying new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has downplayed the effect humans have on climate,” writes Michael Martinez for Automotive News.
President Trump framed the decision to reopen the CAFE review as a means to encourage more US automobile manufacturing, saying: “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again. There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car.”
Automakers have expressed concern that the Obama-era CAFE standards are unfeasible, given the low cost of gasoline and Americans’ taste for large trucks and SUVs, or at best, hugely expensive for automakers and consumers. But Automotive News reports that under Obama, the EPA estimated that the cost of compliance through 2025 would be around $33 billion, while the resulting fuel savings, energy security, etc. would lead to a net benefit of $98 billion.