By on March 16, 2017

Donald Trump

Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will reopen a review of the current auto emissions directives passed in the final throes of the Obama presidency. This is cause for celebration for automakers, who’ve practically begged the president to repeal the mandates on grounds that the goals are far too uncompromising and ill-suited for the present-day market.

Speaking at the American Center for Mobility, President Trump promised to bring more manufacturing back into the United States and continue to bring down regulatory barriers so that automakers can continue to thrive.

“We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” Trump said. “There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car.”

Clearly, the president has either never seen an Aston Martin or is trying to make a point about the importance of domestic product. 

Prior to the speech, Trump toured the $80 million autonomous vehicle testing ground in Ypsilanti, Michigan, while meeting privately with executives from major auto companies, Governor Rick Snyder, and UAW President Dennis Williams. While Williams said he appreciates Trump being there, he also expressed his concern over weakened environmental standards for the automobile industry — echoing similar objections from consumer advocacy groups and environmentalists.

Immediately after Trump’s speech, the EPA released a statement confirming its intention to revisit the greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025.

“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” said newly minted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment.”

Some have suggested it may not be good for the environment, however. Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “The Administration should reconsider today’s action. The EPA finalized the standards after a thorough study of costs and benefits. A decision to withdraw the standards is nonsensical, as it would merely funnel more money to oil companies at consumers’ expense and halt the progress that can be made in both savings for consumers and vehicle efficiency. The standards already take the cost into account, and the record shows that they are a reasonable, cost-effective approach to improving fuel efficiency and lowering consumers’ expenses.”

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also tweeted Wednesday that allowing automakers slack on emissions and economy could easily result in consumers paying more at the pump. There is also no real assurance that less stringent environmental regulations would create new jobs or sell more cars.

Trump said those issues would need to be addressed, specifically stating current standards are set too far into the future to know what impact it would have on employment until more research is done. Granted, his administration already seems to support the notion that fewer regulations will be better for the country’s financial resources.

“Today’s decision by the EPA is a win for the American economy,” stated Trump-appointed U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The Department of Transportation will re-open the Mid-Term evaluation process and work with the EPA to complete the review in a transparent, data-driven manner.”

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50 Comments on “EPA Confirms 2025 Reg. Review as Trump Promises More American Automotive Might...”

  • avatar

    “Clearly, the president has either never seen an Aston Martin”

    That begs the question: What cars does Trump like? Does he like cars or think about them at all?

    He doesn’t strike me as someone who drives very often, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a preference.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    According to the proposed budget the President is putting forth for review and approval, he wishes to cut EPA’s budget by $2.9 billion (31%) and eliminate over 3000 staff.

    This would bring EPA to the levels it was at in 1990.

    There are also a number of other groups/departments going under the knife, but as a whole, EPA is clearly being made an example of. The next highest cut is to the State Dept. where you presently find the Global Climate Change Initiative and funding for the US within the United Nations.

    • 0 avatar

      “funding for the US within the United Nations.”

      I got really excited for a moment until I looked into it. Per Faux News:

      “The budget eliminates the Global Climate Change Initiative and ceases payments to United Nations climate change programs”

      So the toilet full of money won’t be filled up before being flushed, that’s progressive. But then I had to laugh at Agenda 21 here:

      “Economic development assistance programs are reoriented “to countries of greatest strategic importance to the U.S.” and resources are provided to fulfill a $1 billion vaccine pledge.”

      Overall the plan reduces mostly wasteful agencies, but then give all of the savings and then some to the military industrial complex. Basically a C to C- budget in my view (A for melting snowflake spending, F for giving it to wasteful psychopaths and corporate welfare).

  • avatar

    Sounds good to me.

    Let the consumer decide what they want to buy. They can even go fully electric of they want to.

    These standards were absurd anyway, they would have been set aside by a Democrat Administration also.

    They need to just kill the whole CAFE structure and quit forcing the automakers to make cars Americans don’t really want to buy.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure. The proper way to deal with this is with revenue-neutral taxes on fossil fuels.

      • 0 avatar

        The best way to neutralize the objection to a gas tax is to make it *refundable*.

        Pass a law stipulating $1.00/gallon tax on gasoline, but also specifying that the proceeds of the tax are evenly divided by the number of U.S. citizens and refunded to each person at the end of the year. Google says that about 140 billion gallons of gasoline are used in the U.S. each year, so divide that $140 billion in revenue by the ~325 million U.S. citizens and every man, woman, and child would get a check for about $430 a year. (Well, you’d probably want to keep the checks for kids in trust until they turn 18.) This would neutralize one of the biggest objection to a gas tax, that it would be regressive and hurt the poor and middle class. With this method, anyone who uses less gasoline than the national average (which is apparently about 430 gallons per year) would come out ahead.

        • 0 avatar

          Why do car choices have to be some silly experiment in “social justice”?

          If people use more gas, they pay more in taxes. It’s pretty simple and already in place.

          My guess is the government would waste more money collecting and redistributing such a dumb tax than whatever it would gain.

        • 0 avatar

          Doesn’t purchasing gasoline function the same way? If you drive less you pay less? Considering the cost of gasoline, fuel savings would be a more powerful motivator than tax savings.

          The $1 tax on gasoline would only make sense if it were used to fund tax credits for purchasing fuel efficient cars. Generally, the most energy efficient cars (manufacture to recycle) are econoboxes, which also carry the lowest margins for the manufacturers. A credit based upon combined mpg threshold or a graduated credit based upon a range of high-mpg cars would democratize econoboxes in such a way that everyone could afford to own one, and nearly everyone could afford to have an econobox for mule chores like commuting. If the credit specified assembled in the United States, that would make the UAW very happy.

          If the tax credit were set at $5,000 and every vehicle in the US qualified for the max credit, the program would only cost $85B a year. A paltry 2.5% of total federal spending.

    • 0 avatar

      “Let the consumer decide what they want to buy.”

      Well said. We had a lovely selection of cars to chose in the mid 70’s through the 80’s. /s

    • 0 avatar

      You know what they want to buy? They seem to want to buy cars from other countries, countries with lots of regulations, extremely high gas prices, and strong social programs. Why don’t we try that?

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    This is what I voted for. Put down the smartphone and pick up the hatchet.

    • 0 avatar

      The “hatchet”. Hilarious. I think you mean butter knife. Lets cut an agency that accounts for 0.9% of the budget and give it to the same DOD who’s own internal report found they are currently wasting ~$30 billion/year. Not because they asked for more money but because it played well at a rally.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The biggest challenges that confront any country when change is required is the dismantaling of layers of regulatory instruments that impact each other.

    The US over the past 50 years has created a web of regulatory controls designed to work and protect the industry. This has placed the US in a less competitive position to create an export market and has increased the cost of vehicles to the consumer.

    A restructure of all controls governing the US auto industry at all levels of government is needed to ensure a successful and competitive industry remains.

    The constant fiddling around the edges looking for quick and popular fixes to appease minorities spells a quicker end to the industry.

    The US needs to produce vehicles that it is competitive at producing with minimal protection via this framework of regulatory controls.

    If CAFE is altered something else is needed to replace the incentive for growth of progress (tech).

    • 0 avatar

      When Trump’s successor enters office, and they’re in the other party, much of what Trump managed to get done in his term(s) will be undone. No majority is permanent (which is why neither party has wholly eliminated the filibuster) and even the one Trump has is often a fractured one (see: Freedom Caucus).

      That process will also likely occur much faster than Trump’s undoing of his predecessor Obama’s policies, since his administration, intentionally or not, just might be one of the most disorganized and shortsighted in history; certainly in my brief lifetime.

      Chalk that up to the president’s total lack of experience in government, as well as his incurious nature (he’s 70 and rich, why learn anything new?) and general loathing of anything resembling details.

      Despite the perceived time distortion caused by the incessant churn of headlines he and his minions produce, four years go by fast. It doesn’t seem like enough time to make a meaningful, lasting difference before the power shifts back to the other party.

      • 0 avatar

        …When Trump’s successor enters office, and they’re in the other party, much of what Trump managed to get done in his term(s) will be undone…

        As my late mother would say; “From your mouth to God’s ear”. This administration is a fluster cluck. Infrastructure aside, I can’t think of a single other good idea. Can’t believe that I actually miss George W. Bush.

        • 0 avatar

          @golden2husky – agreed. They go from one disaster to the next. Kick Bannon out of the Executive Branch and get some people in there that actually knows how to manage a Government.

          Ideology without an implementation strategy is like trying to drive through a swamp in a Prius. There is a big splash, lots of wheel spin,and then the goo fills the interior.

          • 0 avatar

            “Kick Bannon out of the Executive Branch and get some people in there that actually knows how to manage a Government.”


            Leave the “Executive” Branch as-is until 2018. If we aren’t embroiled in a war already, that should be enough to open people’s eyes, and start to turn this ship around.

          • 0 avatar

            I get a kick out of the outlandish statements on Bannon. For an individual that’s spent his life fighting to protect our constitution and supporting our country – it’s hilarious that you treat him like he’s a community organizer. One of the most genuine men you will ever meet, he knows what he’s doing. The presidency was intended to be filled by people that had real world experience, cluttering it up by making every appointee a lifer would be a detriment.

            Either way keep up the hate it makes the multiple victories that much sweeter.

          • 0 avatar

            @Hummer – where did you read hate in my comment?

            There are people with a strong ideology favouring dismantling government. There isn’t a plan in place to do it. Most of the appointees have been cronies and supporters. The few that have a clue have been marginalized.
            Maybe the Republicans should keep Bannon and ditch putinspotus.

            @shaker – I doubt that putinspotus will make it to 2018.

    • 0 avatar

      Is the rest of the world going to be very interested in bloated inefficient vehicles and the outdated technology behind them? Lowering mileage standards seems like a recipe to make the US auto industry uncompetitive again.

      • 0 avatar

        Does the rest of the world buy US pickups?

        It’s not like V8s that today average 25MPG HWY are going to suddenly drop to 19mpg. America is still large enough to support its own unique industry in certain segments.

      • 0 avatar

        Good point. I still have not made the connection that you have to destroy the regulations that protect us to be able to build vehicles in this country. There are manufacturers that build efficient vehicles in this country and do so profitably. Lower efficiency is a sure way to further limit interest in American vehicles outside this country.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s not like the United States consumers are going to suddenly change their tastes to favor vehicles that sell well in Albania, Peru, or Estonia. If automakers see higher potential profits in building a vehicle even if it is a local market only vehicle, then more power. The costs as they are now are astronomical, cars used to have as many choices and options as trucks, now cars are lucky to have two engine options to choose from – 1.sucksL model and the 2.blowsL model. If the entry price to build niche vehicles is lowered then the market will be able to support a wider variety of vehicles. America is not like the rest of the world.

          I’m sorry if your political opinions are too extreme for you to see the benefits of this, but they clearly exist.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Trump has complained to the Japanese and Germans already about why they are not buying US vehicles.

          Produce vehicles your competition will buy.

          If fullsize pickups are as great as most tout then remove the chicken tax. This will force the price of fullsize trucks down.

          Fullsize pickups make huge profits. Why? Because the chicken tax allows this.

          Change and harmonise regulations to match the rest of the world. Then the US has a greater chance of producing vehicles for export.

          Trump can not whine when the world has little interest in what the US auto industry is producing.

    • 0 avatar

      @BAFO – When US crash and emissions regulations were born, no regulations existed anywhere. And they had one concern, protecting the well being of Americans.

      This had absolutely nothing to do with saving American jobs.

      When Europe got around to developing their own regulations, they made sure to differ just enough to protect their own market.

      US autos have mostly been incompatible with the European “tastes”, but mostly it’s Europe’s high fuel taxes (Europe’s overly simplistic response to CAFE) killing the deal, except cars that are compatible are hit with that *little* 10 to 22.5% tariff on all US imported vehicles. That’s “Protectionism 101”!

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    If CAFE is altered something else is needed to replace the incentive for growth of progress (tech).”

    Say what? Are you carrying same cell phone technology you had 10 years ago? It’s called competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Master Baiter,
      Phones are different.

      Phone manufacturing is not a protected industry, hence more rapid progress in tech and cheaper prices compared to phones manufactured in the US (if made in the US).

      The changes to CAFE, (which I don’t support) are being made to protect rather than promote.

      Promote the changes required to free up the market. This will be beneficial to the US auto industry in the longer term by increasing its competitiveness via productivity gains and the manufacture of vehicles that don’t require protection.

    • 0 avatar

      Competition will only drive improvements to things that matter directly to the buyers. It won’t solve externalities like emissions.

      There was plenty of competition in the car market throughout the ’50s and ’60s, but we didn’t get even the most primitive emissions controls until they were mandated.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Emissions regululations are here to stay and rightly so.

        Contrary to Trump’s comment “Promises More American Automotive Might” the opposite will occur by the promotion of protectionism through technical barriers.

        Trump’s idea will reduce progress and increase costs to the consumer.

        This will also reduce the incentive for US manufacturers to be innovative and improve tech at a comparable rate as competing nations.

        The US will need to import vehicle tech that the US would of otherwise created to export.

        A reduction or less attractive vehicles for export will be manufactured in the US.

        So, this “Might” is hopefully short lived and the US adopts a vehicle industry model that works better in a global market.

        The current US position of being a “one’sy” works against the US industry.

        For the US to have a great and mighty auto industry it needs to be competitive and export what others want.

        Proportionally the US market is shrinking at an accelerated rate. Its volumes per model need to increase to match a harmonised global market. China sold 27 million vehicles last year, then count all of the other expanding global markets.

        To compete with protectionism producing unviable export vehicles will see the big 3 fall behind and an expansion of foreign US manufactured vehicles.

        70 years ago the Aussie car market was big enough to sustain itself. Slowly it became unviable. Our market shrunk relative to manufacturing tech and cost of that tech to produce.

        All but <20% of the global auto industry is restructuring to use a common model to facilitate global vehicle trade. The US can not hope to compete as well as it should under the USes current auto industry framework.

        The US market has shrunk like the Australian market, even with more vehicles sold.

        • 0 avatar

          “70 years ago the Aussie car market was big enough to sustain itself. Slowly it became unvia…”

          No, slowly the enormous 59% tariff was taken away.

      • 0 avatar

        dal20402 – agreed.
        Most people don’t see pollution as a problem until they are staring at their shoes while an Oncologist gives them “the 6 months left to live” speech.

  • avatar

    I may not like it, but elections have consequences and we should expect to see some changes. I’d prefer incremental changes though, and not swinging between NO REGULATIONS! and ALL THE REGULATIONS! every election cycle.

    Lower the standards a bit, relax crash test requirements so that automakers can swap out different transmissions at less expense (with at least some analytical justification), make some cuts, save up for the next auto bailout caused by rising gas prices that change market preferences again…

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if the insurance companies even take into account transmission type when testing cars?

      Sure I can understand how the type of transmission may effect a crash to a small degree but clearly there has to be a precedent that I’m missing.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        I had a 944 that was classified as an ‘imported two-door hatchback’ – like the then-contemporary Tercel. It was insured as such, too. My insurance company cared not a whit about the dog-leg transmission or the 335 rear tires that would enable the car to corner like a rollercoaster.

    • 0 avatar

      “relax crash test requirements”, worsen pollution and gut out Health Care.

      Yes, a major benefit to society.

      I now understand the need to add 85 billion to the military budget.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    While I’m no fan of Trump or his policies, including his gutting of environmental regulations and spending, I wonder if this rollback can really do that much damage. If electrification finally does take hold–and there’s reason to think it might by 2025–then the mileage of most automakers would start to soar anyway, once you factor in the MPGe of their EVs.

    • 0 avatar

      I highly doubt any (real) electrification efforts will be hurt, the technology is out of the bag. FCA may junk it’s only entry but Tesla, Ford, GM, Toyota are in it til the end.

      In 20 years they may end up being the only automakers left if that’s what the future holds.

      In the meantime it should mean automakers can put money into other developmental areas and possibly hold (would be) inflation increases on their vehicles for a couple years.

      Electrification is here to stay, and maybe, with less forced competition the main proponents of the technology can get an advantage. Less players means theres more market for the real players.

      My $.02

    • 0 avatar

      Well yeah, that was kind of the point and the reason the standards are set, EPA assumed that we’d all be driving hybrids.

      The problem and the fear is that some shortsighted executive at GM or Chrysler will see lowering the standards as an opportunity to get himself a bigger bonus by scrapping a costly R&D program and posting higher profit for a few years. And he won’t care that it’ll cost the company in the long run, because he’s planning to cash out and leave before the gas gets expensive and people start wanting to buy more fuel efficient vehicles.

      Ford will probably be ok simply because they still sell cars in Europe. But GM kinda feels like they’re doubling down on trucks and FCA will probably continue to be the shitshow it’s been since the 90s.

  • avatar

    At the very least, we need to lose the footprint-based computation of CAFE. It is not within Congress’ purview to penalize a car for being short or narrow. It’s none of their business, and the NHTSA’s justification of the footprint regs was a condemnation of CAFE, not a reason to make CAFE even worse.

    Get rid of the footprint regulations. If the NHTSA thins millions of Americans will die that should be sufficient to convince Americans that CAFE is garbage, and we need a new system.

  • avatar

    The second great bail-out of the automotive industry…except this time they don’t face systemic risk…they’d rather just maintain the status quo.

    There is probably a balance here that lies between the two sides but any regression in regulation achieved will be laughably temporary…and the manufacturers know this….so I don’t expect it to divert any existing EV projects or move towards efficiency in general.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    In 4 to 8 years Trump will be out of office and we will probably have another Democrat for President which means we will probably have stricter efficiency standards. If the auto manufacturers are smart they will plan for this and continue to work on newer and more efficient vehicles. Also as Big Al from Oz said that to be competitive on a Global basis vehicles will have to continue to develop more efficient drive trains and be designed for a Global market. Fuel prices will at some point go up again so it is best to keep developing more efficient vehicles.

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