Published: Sat, July 27, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

White House to Seek 1 National Mileage Standard

White House to Seek 1 National Mileage Standard

The share of the US auto market affected by the new terms could grow significantly if other automakers join the deal according to the Washington Post.

"To be clear, while the agreement is a positive step forward compared to the Trump Administration's proposed rollback, it does not provide the same consumer and pollution benefits as existing standards".

BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen signed on to a plan to increase fuel economy 3.7% per year.

A joint statement from the four automakers pointed to the need for regulatory certainty in striking the deal with California.

Under the deal, automakers will have to increase the average fuel economy of their new vehicle fleets to almost 50 miles per gallon by model year 2026, which is an increase of 3.7 miles per gallon per year, and would ultimately make new cars much cleaner.

"We have, and continue to, pursue an outcome supported by the auto industry at large, the Federal government and the State of California", Toyota said in a statement. The four automakers say the new agreement with California gives them that additional flexibility.

The Trump administration claims that Obama's fuel economy stands are too strict and unattainable by 2025, adding that relaxing the rules would save automakers billions in development costs.

The proposal would also revoke California's long-standing authority to set its own rules under the Clean Air Act, a practice the federal government has backed for decades.

However, a new Trump administration rule in the works is trying to rollback the Obama-era emission regulations, essentially freezing mileage standards at around 37 miles per gallon for passengers cars until 2026. But White House spokesman Judd Deere countered, "The federal government, not a single state, should set this standard", while Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Michael Abboud echoed, "This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers".

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NHTSA, which has federal authority over fuel economy standards and has had to work with the EPA to coordinate them with Carbon dioxide emissions standards, issued a statement saying, "NHTSA and EPA continue to work together toward the final SAFE Vehicles Rule, which will establish maximum feasible standards to which all vehicle manufacturers must comply".

Like many regulations from the tail end of the Obama administration, though, the fuel efficiency rule had no fans in the Trump administration. That will make newer cars more affordable so people can take advantage of safety technology.

Last month, 17 automakers sent a letter to the White House and to California Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that the previous standards remain for the most part in place. "The proposal contained no language that would prevent any auto manufacturer from designing and building next-generation highly fuel-efficient vehicles".

Aside from extending credits for building electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel vehicles, the deal also hikes the cap for winning credits for fuel efficiency improvements not captured by traditional testing.

General Motors said in a statement that its "focus remains on working with all parties on a deal that would involve a 50-state solution and a national electric vehicle program". The automakers were seeking to revive talks to avoid lengthy litigation.

Automakers concede privately that the proposal may not prompt the White House to restart talks.

Automakers credited Trump with reopening the requirements after the Obama administration in its final weeks had sought to lock them in through 2025. "I hope the Trump Administration can learn from this example and follow it".

Alan Baum, a Detroit-area consultant who does work for the auto industry and environmental groups, said the deal is clearly created to get the rest of the auto industry on board and to force the Trump administration to the bargaining table with California.

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