Automakers Didn't Even Waste a Full Business Day Asking New EPA Head for Relief

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
automakers didnt even waste a full business day asking new epa head for relief

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s former attorney general, was sworn in to his new role as Environmental Protection Agency administrator late Friday following a 52-46 Senate vote earlier in the day.

While it isn’t known what Pruitt did over the weekend, it’s safe to say that members of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spent at least part of that downtime drafting a letter, likely mirroring one they’ve already sent to President Donald Trump.

The group, representing 12 automakers that build 77 percent of the light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S., wants action on lowering the industry’s fuel economy and emissions targets. Urgent action, ideally. Now that there’s been a change at the top, the group feels that it might finally get its wish.

Officially, the alliance wants the EPA to reopen a midterm review of federal corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards — a process that was ended a year early when the EPA decided, with days remaining before Trump’s inauguration, to keep the Obama administration’s 2025 targets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t yet issued its recommendation.

According to Automotive News, the alliance waited out the weekend and President’s Day before delivering a letter to Pruitt yesterday.

In it, the group blasted the EPA’s past decision to end the review, calling it “the product of egregious procedural and substantive defects.” The decision was “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis and a failure to engage with contrary evidence,” the alliance added.

The EPA is reportedly reviewing the letter. While the agency expects to receive a number of executive orders from the president, there has been no word on what action, if any, could be taken to relax auto industry regulations. Pruitt told the Senate that he would review the Obama-era policies.

In recent months, the alliance, as well as the CEOs of various automakers, have expressed concern about how CAFE targets could impact their business and the cost of vehicles. The midterm review found that automakers had made decent headway towards the 2025 goal. Still, the alliance has stood firm, stating recently that 1 million jobs are threatened by the regulations.

After Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA head, the alliance issued a release stating:

The Administrator has a keen understanding of how compliance with the government fuel economy/greenhouse gas program depends on what consumers buy, not what automakers produce. That’s why standards must also reflect market realities.

We remain convinced the best way to advance our shared goals for the environment, safety, consumer affordability and manufacturing jobs is to reinstate the data-driven review — under the originally promised schedule.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Ckb Ckb on Feb 22, 2017

    "1 million jobs are threatened" I can't imagine the shock of the AAM when after years of rigorous analysis, test cases, and market simulations the report spit out that exactly 1,000,000.00 jobs would be "threatened". They must have been really worried that people might think they just pulled a big scary number out of their ass. Anyway, kudos to the brave new administration's unlimited distribution of easy buttons. Its obvious 'merica can't do anything that sounds hard anymore.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 23, 2017

      Except the foreign makers are by in large on the same page. I think it needs to at least be reviewed given the politics behind how those standards were locked in while the moving truck was parked at the White House. And you talk about easy? Cars are the low hanging fruit with regard to curbing fossil fuel. You pass a law and it is someone else's problem to figure it out. If you are serious about curbing their use you have to look at things like power generation and air travel too. That first one in particular is challenging to the Government because municipal governments are tied up in power generation so it can't just be passed off to a private entity that is already in the governments pocket and their is very real job loss tied to moving away from fuels like coal with which the government will have to deal with.

  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Feb 23, 2017

    Just as an example of what CAFE has done. Most recent BMWs have an electric water pump to take the mechanical pump load off the engine to tweak out a few extra tenths of an MPG in the CAFE tests. These pumps cost between $600 to $1000 installed and are not a DIY job, and it is common to need a replacement at about 60,000 miles. I remember changing the mechanical water pump on my BMW 2002 at about 100,000 miles, easy DIY job and the pump was less the $50. Without CAFE, BMW would never make such a change, because the gas savings from the electric pump will never be high enough to pay for the higher pump cost.

  • Kcflyer How about, "Fancy VW"?
  • Kcflyer Would be very interested, despite the 4 banger, if not for the direct injection garbage.
  • Wayne back in 55 when I was 10 Grandpa started with 'back her out' of the garage, then on day he crawls into the passenger side and say's take her to the post office. teach them early as you can
  • 28-Cars-Later Another: How does Stellantis plan to leverage the EV experience of PSA and Opel (?) against the former FCA operation?
  • Ltcmgm78 We bought a 2017 Volt when it came off lease. What a great car! Cost us $18,000 to buy. We put gas in it a couple of times a year. GM blew it with this car as they have done with others. No buyer education. This should have been the bridge car between pure ICE vehicles and pure battery vehicles. No range anxiety at all. And ours still gets 44 mpg running the gas "generator" to power the electric motor. We love it and wish a new model would return to market.