By on February 16, 2017

2016 GMC yukon Denali

President Donald Trump is poised to order changes at the Environmental Protection Agency once a new administrator is confirmed, sources at the regulator claim.

In a meeting Tuesday, EPA employees were told to expect two to five executive orders, Reuters reports. While the news will likely cause anxiety among the nation’s environmentalists, U.S. automakers are likely crossing their fingers for a different reason.

The meeting in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel saw employees told of the upcoming orders by a senior official who had spoken with members of the Trump administration. No details were provided.

“It was just a heads-up to expect some executive orders, that’s it,” one of the sources told Reuters.

Given Trump’s fixation on the American auto industry, as well as extensive lobbying from automakers and industry groups, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that one of those orders could have something to do with corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules.

A midterm review of those standards is still ongoing, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yet to rule on whether the lofty fuel economy targets set by the Obama administration should stay in place. The EPA, however, gave the existing plan a thumb’s up shortly before Trump took office.

Industry groups cried foul over the EPA’s sudden approval, calling it a political move. The agency had another year to weight in on the targets. For the Detroit Three automakers, achieving the 54.5 mile-per-gallon average by the target year of 2025 means extra expense and higher sticker prices on vehicles.

“What we’re really trying to do is just restore the [midterm review process], and because the process was truncated, we don’t really know what the standards should be,” Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told Bloomberg last week.

Bergquist made the statement after the CEOs of 18 automakers, including the Detroit Three, sent a letter to Trump asking for a reset of the EPA review term.

“As recently as late last fall, EPA assured us that the MTR would not result in a final determination before the next administration came into office,” the executives wrote in the February 10th letter.

Trump’s EPA pick, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, will reportedly face a Senate confirmation vote on Friday.

[Image: General Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

77 Comments on “Report: Executive Orders Coming to EPA, but Will Automakers Get Their Wish?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Don’t mind me, I’ll just be popping in every once in a while to see how ugly this thread gets.

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      Honestly, articles like this should just have the comments disabled. The comment thread just becomes more about politics (usually salty anti-trump commenters) and less about automobiles.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s the point, we’re being trolled.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          The hilarity of the Trump Trolls is that the worst of them come out slinging with genuine 4chan lingo. Half of them don’t even know where it originated from. They’re just brainless pawns (or in their words, ‘cucks’) of their Breibart overlords.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            In my view, no different than their counterparts who are also MSM mindless.

            Attention students! Sheeple 101 is now meeting in the old building, Room 106.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            https://xkcd.com/610/

            most of us outgrow the “I’m the first person to ever think of anything” phase of our lives by the time we leave college.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Ya got me, JimZ. I just find it satisfying that their movement’s core growth came from such a terrible place. I guess the best place to witness the intersection of reality with 4chan are the youtube videos of the 4chan basement dwellers trolling that Shia actor with spoken 4chan nazi and autism memes. What a world we live in.

            Don’t mind me, I’m off to go kill the rest of my brain function with drugs and alcohol.

          • 0 avatar
            OzCop

            …that didn’t take long…

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            OzCop – what didn’t take long? Does this ‘trigger’ you? LOL (pun intended and no offense, please)

            Or what other Tumponians would say: top kek. KEK. variant of LOL on a keyboard.

            You know where that came from? WORLD OF WARCRAFT. People who post Pepe the frog mocking the holocaust. Same group spawned Bannon-speak. Or did Bannon spawn the 4chan speak? Was Bannon a 4chan troll? We will never know. Either way, we have a 4chan-er inside advising the president on future policy. Surreal.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            tres,

            it was actually a reply to 28-C-L.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I double dare you to think.

            Go!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            If by “think” you mean “agree with you” then that dog ain’t gonna hunt.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The whole point of rational thought is multiple ideas and viewpoints in a common search for truth.

            Try this thinking thing again, I know you can do it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Unfortunately most of the discourse is based upon ideology as opposed to hard science. I’ve read that surveys have gone out to various agencies to weed out any climate change “believers”.

            In Canada our previous Prime Minister tried to muzzle scientists and implement “softer” versions of policy that we are seeing come forth in the USA. It failed to fly in Canada but it will succeed for the time being in the USA.

  • avatar
    dwford

    They do need to take a second look at this. With the accelerating shift to crossovers, that 54.5 target will be much harder to hit.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “With the accelerating shift to crossovers, that 54.5 target will be much harder to hit.”

      So what? There’s nothing inevitable about the shift to crossovers.

      Build them more economically – the Kia Niro already hits 49, with perfectly adequate interior room and performance, at a low price point (which means lightweight materials and higher technologies will allow the same MPG with more room/performance). Or build more hatchbacks and sedans. What’s wrong with drowning coastal cities and ending world agriculture a little slower?

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        Ahem. The Niro is FWD-only, and is thus not deserving of crossover moniker. It’s a hatchback.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          There are plenty of FWD crossovers. The Niro is clearly one of them; see the press consensus on what they’re calling it.

          Also, even with a gas engine, AWD doesn’t need to be a mileage destroyer. Makers can simply ditch the fore/aft driveshaft and bring down the cost of using an FWD gas engine at the front and hybrid batteries powering independent electric motors at the rear. The tech’s already there – see Acura NSX and RLX.

          And of course, we’re talking fleet average, not every single car in the fleet. Selling more plug-ins will give carmakers plenty of wiggle room to dip under the limit on the rest of their sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      dwford,
      Many nations around the world would have no issues with the current CAFE goals.

      Is the US not technically able to compete?

      I don’t support CAFE. The simplest and fairest way to improve FE is to increase tax on fuel. The additional money can pay down US debt and improve transport infrastructure. This would be fair to all. So if you want a V8 Corolla and Toyota makes one, buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Forget Europe, their policies, their crappy little diesel cars, most being pre-emissions, and countless, no emissions Mopeds/Vespas they force their citizens to get around in.

        Good times?

        Are they better off for it?? Last I heard, their smog levels, gagging bad air and emphysema/asthma/lung cancer rates were through the F-ing roof!!

        The US EPA/CAFE/Gas Guzzler tax, isn’t perfect, but it’s a very good balance between what you want to own/drive, and common stinkin’ sense.

        And have you tried getting an F-350 4X4 dually crew cab 7′ stretched limousine through a Drive-Thru???

  • avatar
    e30gator

    150 years of internal combustion engines, and yet we’re still hopelessly dependent on the brown goo that comes out of the ground.

    That said, who needs regulations? I always trust huge corporations to do what’s in my best interests. As has been demonstrated time and again, they always take the moral high road at the expense of increased profit.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      And I trust ever growing governments as well. They do say on TV they are “The People’s Republic” after all, and that I am people….

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        At least I have a constitutional right to vote the bums out. I can’t do that with major corporations unless I’m a shareholder. And shareholders of big publicly traded companies, with a few big institutional exceptions, usually pay quite a bit less attention than most voters.

      • 0 avatar
        ckb

        “And I trust ever growing governments as well”

        On that note: did you know that in 2014, the fed gov directly employed 2,726,000 people!? And also, in 1966 when the US had 130M fewer people there were only 2,759,000 gov employees? (opm.gov – all non military btw). D’oH!

        Maybe you meant taxes. Man that 39% top tax bracket is a bear. Not like the 70% top tax bracket we had until 1980. (taxfoundation.org) D’oH!

        Or maybe you meant those profit killing regulations that limited the SP500 to only 1000% growth (10%/yr!) since the 80’s. D’oH!

        Ok, that’ll be my last fact of the night preserved forever on the internet yet guaranteed to influence no one. Enjoy!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Today on Two Minutes of Hate…

  • avatar
    FOG

    Oh NO! The EPA is going to be shut down and we are ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!. Wait, we will eventually die anyways, right? Nevermind! And I heard they were suffocating puppies to test emissions, but only at Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Obviously, the short term environmental impact of such orders will be practically invisible and they will be easily defensible as “good for business”.

    But time will show the Human Race that the many fancy things we covet contribute directly to our demise. The earth is indifferent and has plenty of time to weather our extinction.

    No honest environmentalist expects us to eliminate fossil fuels or just stop making concrete.

    Personally, the speed with which we’ve developed a collective conscious about the fragility of our environment is promising considering the blind permanence dogma of religion and the predatory “to the maximum extent of the law” capitalism.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “blind permanence dogma of religion”
      We are seeing some shifts in that realm. The Catholic Church’s Pontiff is a left leaning moderate.
      Your statement is just as valid if one replaces politics with religion.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    You can’t convince me that moving to small turbo 4s, engine stop-start and 10 speed transmissions to eek out a few tenths of an MPG is a good thing.

    CAFE needs to go.

    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Agree Masterbaiter.

      A well designed fuel levy would be cheaper and fairer to manage.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        while I’d agree, we have a chicken-and-egg problem here. the lack of decent public transportation in many areas makes raising fuel prices regressive (i.e. disproportionately harms lower income people.) I personally could absorb a doubling in gas prices without too much heartburn, but it could be a walloping for someone making $10/hr.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          And, of course, Trump has proposed zeroing out all public transportation capital money (most of which currently comes from the federal government). If he succeeds in getting that through Congress, we’ll just get farther away from anyone ever having any way to get around without driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          JimZ,
          It will not affect those who are economically challenged.

          1. They will buy vehicles they can afford to operate.

          2. Better road infrastructure will make goods and services cheaper.

          3. Again, better road infrastructure will reduce fuel costs.

          4. No CAFE requires less vehicle design costs. With the greater use of existing technologies.

          5. There will be greater access to public transit. Again reducing stress on road infrastructure.

          This will more than offset the cost of increased fuel.

          It seems logical and cost effective.

          Most will still be able to afford personal transport.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “A well designed fuel levy would be cheaper and fairer to manage.”

        I don’t support higher gasoline taxes because IMHO the externalities associated with fossil fuel use are grossly overstated among certain political classes.

        I also don’t trust governments to use incremental tax revenue wisely. Here in one-party controlled CA, any incremental revenue would no doubt be directed to shoring up public sector pensions as opposed to improving roads and/or infrastructure.
        .
        .

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The inevitable result of CAFE going away without anything (i.e. gas tax) to replace it would be catastrophic for car enthusiasts. Soon enough, a Suburban will be an “unsafe small car” and Obviously Anyone Who Cares About Their Kids’ Safety will be driving a F-750 Excursion.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Why does it godda be all or nothing?

            Why kill CAFE? Just put it in a glass case, where it belongs. And simply leave CAFE standards/fines/incentives where they are today, no more, no less.

            “Diminishing returns” anyway. Needlessly complicated hardware from now on, for miniscule gains.

            It’s why I’m hesitant on new ownership. Built-in Obsolescence, scores of processors, modules, and whatnot.

            Leave CAFE as it sits, and consumers will continue seeking the fuel efficient, hybrid, plug-ins, etc.

  • avatar
    Caboose

    I agree in theory that fuel tax would be a more transparent and effective way to influence consumers’ behavior on the lot.

    There are two obvious and non-trivial social challenges that a high gas tax poses in the U.S. though.

    First, high fuel taxes, like sales tax on food, tend to be regressive, i.e.-disproportionately affecting the poor, in this case, the working poor who drive to work.

    Second, a big fuel tax increase, while it would give the Administration a partial opportunity to pay less attention to the OEMs during the debate, might turn into a “sin tax” upon which the Gov’t becomes highly dependent.
    And a Gov’t dependent on big gas tax revenues will be less likely to promote a transition to alt fuels in the future.

    Depending on where one falls on the political spectrum, those considerations may or may not move your personal needle.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      Speaking as a Canadian, we have much higher gas taxes here than in the US and that’s had a direct impact on what kind of cars we buy here (among other reasons like road salt, higher taxes in general, higher car prices and lower incomes). So lots of compacts, compact CUVs and trucks compared to whatever sells best in the US. All the funds from the gas taxes are directly earmarked for road and infrastructure maintenance.

      If a (much?) higher gas tax were imposed in the US, there would definitely be a lot of short term pain so it would probably be best to have it phased in over say a 5 year time period.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        driving on the 401 from Windsor is a million times more pleasant than any of the highways in Detroit I drive to get to the tunnel.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Sutherland555,
        Canada, as Australia has a greatly lower population density than the US.

        If you look at how many kilometres per person to support road infrastructure you would see Canadian roads are exceptional. Aussie roads are only good.

        I think we pay a little more per litre for fuel than Canadians. When I was last in Brisbane a month or so ago we were paying $1.25 per litre. The Loonie and Aussie dollar are roughly par.

        We are paying around $3.30USD per US gallon.

        • 0 avatar
          sutherland555

          Sorry, I should’ve added that I do think our roads in general are well maintained. Obviously there are deficiencies but a lot of that can be attributed to the freeze/thaw effect.

          Of course, we do complain about the state of our roads here. After road trips to DC and NYC in the past 2 years though, I can safely say our roads and highways are in much better shape than just about anything I drove on there.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Big Al – at my last fill up, we were at 0.99/litre.

  • avatar
    skloon

    Will Rolling Coal be mandatory ? are we finally getting a 6000 SUX ?

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The real wild card is California and the other states who have followed California’s lead. If California continues to go their own way and demand that certain targets be met, it is going to make it very difficult for the auto companies no matter what the EPA says.

    For Republicans, this is a dilemma. Traditionally, Republicans favor delegating power to the states and not relying on the Federal Government. If they were to eliminate the EPA, California would still stick to their guns. Automakers would still have to lose money on High Mileage cars to sell the rest of the their cars to potential customers in the California Cabal.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Kill CAFE, let the states regulate FE as they deem necessary.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Transportation is 26% of the green house gases produced in the US. Of that 28%, 34% is from passenger cars and 28% from light duty trucks.

    So what were talking about is vehicles that make up around 15% of the green house gases produced in the US. If the reigns are loosened a little bit, which I think they should be, is it gonna make that big of a difference? Probably not. I think the current EPA goals are too aggressive so I’m for relaxing them a bit but not completely dismantling them.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      What? Compromise? What a dreamer.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “Transportation is 26% of the green house gases produced in the US.”

      Highly misleading. See this:

      “Out of the entire atmospheric makeup, only one to two percent is made up of greenhouse gases with the majority being nitrogen (about 78 percent) and oxygen (about 21 percent). Of that two percent, “planet-killing” carbon dioxide comprises only 3.62 percent while water vapor encompasses 95 percent. And of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, humans cause only 3.4 percent of annual CO2 emissions. What does this all boil down to? Not very much.”

      So transportation is actually 26% of 3.62% of 3.4%, which works out to a whopping 0.03%. Can you see why some of us are skeptical regarding man’s effect on climate?
      .
      .

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s the very dumbest argument of the many dumb ones that climate revisionists make.

        The question isn’t how much of the total atmosphere is composed of CO2, it’s how much greenhouse effect a given concentration of CO2 causes. And there is ample evidence that nearly doubling the concentration of CO2 has allowed the atmosphere (and therefore the earth) to retain more heat.

        And with respect to human emissions, the question isn’t how much of total CO2 emissions humans cause, but whether the human-caused amount is sufficient to exceed the earth’s capacity to absorb CO2 and thereby change the total concentration. Again, it’s completely obvious that it is. CO2 concentration changes in the past have taken place over millennia. Now we’ve made a dramatic one happen in just 150 years, most of it in the past 50.

        You might as well say “There’s no way I overcooked that chicken — I only raised its temperature from 336 to 341 kelvins.”

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “That’s the very dumbest argument of the many dumb ones that climate revisionists make”

          Exactly. Right up there with “it still feels cold as hell in New Hampshire in January, no way this planet’s warming up”.

          Anyone who doesn’t believe a small amount of a substance can have a major effect on a system is welcome to look up the fatal concentration of sarin in air or consider that just a few ingested prions can lead to a fatal cascading dissolution of your brain tissue.

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          It’s obvious that if the climate were that sensitive to the concentration of a trace gas like CO2, our climate would have spun off into an extreme of temperature a long time ago. Clearly, strong negative feedback effects have kept the climate remarkably stable for millennia. To claim human emissions may be catastrophic requires the introduction of positive feedbacks to the climate models which are pure fabrication meant to induce hysteria, which people like you have obviously fallen for.
          .
          .

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    So the auto industry will have to wait until BOTH the EPA and NHTSA have new appointees? That’s the gist of the comments I’ve read.

    As for politics, I read a fascinating argument that the origin of politics goes back to the stone age. In the beginning, humans were organized into clans, extended families of anywhere from 30 to 50 people of all ages. There were usually 3-4 key adult males in charge, and when a clan lost one or two, it was in serious trouble.

    Along came the tribe, a banding of several clans with the same organization, but a much larger pool of replacements for the leaders, and a better chance of survival. Politics began when individual clans jockeyed for position and influence within the tribe. Clans would ally with others, or intermarry and merge to increase their influence, until there were two or more factions within the tribe.

    The Founding Fathers warned us about factions, but that’s what we have here in the U. S. of A. We may be devolving back into clans within our tribe.

  • avatar
    DudeMcLovin

    I hope Matt Posky read this article. He refuses to accept that the CAFE standards may be changed. Like I said before, the Trump admin is unpredictable so you never know until the fat lady sings.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: “Lacking the smoothness expected of a Honda four-cylinder” where they ever been smooth? I found...
  • mmreeses: If you look at the Mulroney stickers for Kia/Hyundai, the Korea built cars tend to have parts literally 99%...
  • dal20402: I don’t get the Sturm und Drang over this kind of stuff. Displacement is an arbitrary number that we...
  • FreedMike: I’d put money on the Fit’s quality and reliability being better than a Soul’s in the...
  • Corey Lewis: What’s your favorite 90s German car? (Hey look, future QOTD) I think: 190E 2.3-16 OR S600 V12...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States