By on April 2, 2018

It looks as if the United States will find out if softened fuel economy targets will transform the domestic market into a haven for automobiles with exquisite powertrains or an antiquated dinosaur with garbage cars making use of old, pollution-friendly tech.

As predicted, the Environmental Protection Agency officially announced its intent to roll back Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards this week. On Monday, EPA head Scott Pruitt indicated his agency would begin the formal regulatory process with the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to lower the existing MPG rules.

For the most part, Pruitt avoided diving deep into the NHTSA’s past claims of larger vehicles being safer and the manufacturing pitfalls associated with rushing cutting-edge technology to market — two issues we expected to be addressed. Instead, he left the announcement rather basic by stating the Obama-era rules were “not appropriate and should be revised.” The cornerstone of the EPA’s argument is that Americans simply aren’t buying more efficient automobiles, despite their current availability, and automakers have grown concerned with meeting CAFE standards after 2022.

“The Obama administration’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement. “Obama’s EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high.”If you recall, the Obama-era mileage rules were enacted in the midst of his first term but didn’t take effect until the 2017 model year. Practically every major manufacturer, as well as the general public, was on board at a time when gas prices had risen past $4.00 per gallon. As time went on, automakers became increasingly worried that an average cooperate fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 would be impossible. However, just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January of 2017, the Obama administration concluded the standards through 2025 were still attainable. Many within the Trump administration claimed this was done as an act of political sabotage.

Since 2016, much of the automotive industry lobbied to have the regulatory mandate lessened after 2022. Numerous executives discussed the matter with President Trump directly. Roughly a year ago, he agreed to have the EPA reassess the standards — with most observers expecting a rollback as the likely course of action.

With the rollback now confirmed, the next question is “by how much?” Pruitt said the agency will examine what’s feasible and intends to consult with the Department of Transportation. Regardless of the outcome, most automakers should be pleased. The same cannot be said for environmental groups, however.

In a press release published just days before the EPA’s official decision, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune condemned Pruitt as an enemy of the people.

“These roll-backs from Scott Pruitt mean Americans will pay more at the pump while our air gets dirtier, just so Pruitt can help the corporate lobbyists and polluters who give him favors and marching orders,” Brune said. “Pruitt’s decision to side with Ford and the Auto Alliance rather than the overwhelming majority of Americans who want these clean car standards should come as no surprise as this is an administrator who focuses solely on what’s best for corporate polluters, not the public. But make no mistake, we will continue fighting back to protect these standards and the health of our communities. Scott Pruitt can try and hide from the public in first class, in his soundproof office, or in the homes of corporate lobbyists, but we will be loud and clear in calling for our families and our communities to be protected.”

Meanwhile, California is prepared to wage a legal battle against the federal government over the issue. The state says it will absolutely not adhere to lessened fuel economy mandates. During Monday’s announcement, Pruitt said he is considering whether to continue allowing California to set its own vehicle emissions rules or to revoke the state’s waiver. But it doesn’t look good.

“Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” he said. “The EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford — while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars.”

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162 Comments on “Triumph or Tragedy? EPA Officially Sides With Automakers on Fuel Economy Rollback...”


  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Good deal!

    Thanks for covering the story so promptly.

    Any rollback is better than no rollback.

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      It is??

    • 0 avatar
      volvo driver

      Good good, —————-

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        volvo driver is a troll.

        • 0 avatar
          volvo driver

          —————-

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            Nobody trolls the left like Orange Jesus. Every utterance, every tweet, makes the left absolutely apoplectic. And that very quality is what got Donny Cheddar elected.

            Truly a teachable moment.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Car enthusiasts do not have to choose political sides. And they don’t have to troll either. You either love cars, or you don’t. No in-between.

            The lefty libbies had their way for the eight years during the last administration and now the tables have been turned on them. Hallelujah!

            Hey, elections have consequences.

            I’m happy to see ANY rollback. Maybe we’ll get away from these heavy-breathing squirrel engines and start to see more slow turning, stump pulling V8s again.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It’s glorious ————-

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “You either love cars, or you don’t. No in-between.”

            I love cars and also love not having rivers on fire, less smog, and relatively clean drinking water.

            Feel free to walk the southern shores of Lake Michigan to get an idea of what “pro industry” has done to the environment and the millions that it’s taking to clean it up.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You’re entitled to your beliefs. That’s cool.

            But not everyone thinks or feels the way you do about any given subject.

            So you are free to live your chosen lifestyle and people like me are free to enjoy their life, liberty and the pursuit of our happiness.

            What gets me is all those tourists from the East and the West as they pass through our beautiful desert scapes and throw trash out of their cars.

            The locals don’t do that. We appreciate what we got. That’s why we live here.

            By choice.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Highdesertcat,
            Um, this rollback is not for cars ………….. it’s further protection for the large truck market.

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            @SC5door, the same Michigan that’s been under leftist decree for 6 decades?

            Our rivers aren’t orange and/or on fire like they were in the ’60s, and when’s the last time you saw smog? We are fine maintaining our current state; rollbacks don’t mean we abolish catalytic converters, it only means we stop ignoring the laws of physics and the point of diminishing returns.

      • 0 avatar

        Volvo driver, there is no name calling or personal insults. This is a warning.

    • 0 avatar
      Krivka

      Why?

      • 0 avatar
        DearS

        I am pro CAFE regulations but I think automakers have done a great job in the last 8 years improving their tech and making cars better and affordable. I am ok with rolling things back some, while still continuing to make cars cleaner. It is up to the consumer now to decide.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality”

    Oh you mean like “net neutrality”?

    https://goo.gl/images/Der7nA

    #butthatsnoneofmybusiness

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Go suck a lemon, Brune.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Welp, this oughta bring the next gas price spike five years closer. How soon we forget…

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I can’t imagine that it will single-handedly cause so much extra oil to be consumer that it will drive a new price spike – but it certainly could mean that Americans are driving a much more vulnerable vehicle mix when that next spike happens.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “but it certainly could mean that Americans are driving a much more vulnerable vehicle mix when that next spike happens.”

        You know, let it be the choice of the people.

        I’m not stupid; I have no intention of buying a gas guzzling anything. No bro-dozers here. If I can’t get at least 35mpg on the freeway, and 30 around town, I’m not interested. (Fortunately, GTI gives me the choice of either guzzling gas or being economical in one car.)

        But if people want to act against their own self interests and be caught in 17mpg trucks when gas prices hit $5, that’s THEIR decision to make. It should not be foisted onto them.

        As someone said, it’s like fighting obesity by mandating the tailoring of only smaller clothing sizes.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          I’m not saying that $5 a gallon wouldn’t suck. It’s 2.5 times higher than what I paid to put 31 gallons in the F150 yesterday. BUT…Americans have proven time and again that math is not their forte. I remember during the last spike in ’07 or so people freaking out and whining about guzzlers and trading them in for ANYTHING with better fuel economy. They took a bath on their trades, and ended up with new or larger payments. My neighbor at the time went from a Hummer H2 to a V6 Charger, then as soon as gas prices eased he traded into a Hummer H3. Idiot.

          Much better to ride out the price spikes, in my opinion. It’s also important to be using the correct vehicle for the correct role. If you have a 50-mile daily commute, maybe a 6.2L GMC Denali isn’t the best vehicle for that, even if gas is cheap. I also see the occasional pizza delivery driver in a full-size pickup and wonder how they possibly make any money.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      That would be nice to see; I’d get a nice cushy job out of it here in Houston.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Yes, rising fuel economy targets in the US and around the world will surely be the causal factor in any event that leads to higher oil prices.

      Increasing the fleet average from 20mpg to 25mpg has certainly sent oil prices through the roof. Same thing happened in 1986. I can scarcely imagine what will happen when the US fleet hits 30mpg combined in 4 years.

      Is $300 per barrel too low an estimate? Maybe $400 per barrel is more accurate? Better start stockpiling. It’s only a matter of days now.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Rising oil prices will just reactivated all the dormant shale oil drillers in North Dakota, moderating any oil price increase. We didn’t have the excess capacity from shale during previous oil price spikes.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      It might not have as big an impact. My 2017 AWD CUV gets much better gas mileage than my 2000 small FWD sedan. My full size 2013 sedan does even better (by a little).

      All vehicles are still ICE, yet my household is using a lot less petroleum than it was ten years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I agree. It won’t have much of an impact because the improvements made will continue in production.

        What I like to see is Ford offering an F150 with a 352ci, 390ci or 428ci, or even a 460ci V8. GM and RAM already have their modern V8s, and they sell.

        And not everyone can afford to pay the premium that is Tundra, even for that magnificent all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8. The Rolex of truck engines of the automotive world.

        There’s just something about a V8, V10 or V12 that you can’t get with a heavy-breathing squirrel engine.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          “And not everyone can afford to pay the premium that is Tundra, even for that magnificent all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8. The Rolex of truck engines of the automotive world.”

          You mean gas guzzling and under powered?

          The Premium OHC engine in the segment is the Ford 5.0 with the 10R80. But nice try though, I’m sure Exxon Mobil will present Toyota with a participation trophy as its owners purchase more fuel for that “Rolex”.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’m with the people who don’t care about the price of gas. Never have cared. Paid whatever it cost to get me where I was going.

            We all have our druthers. I’m not into Rolls or Bentley or Ferrari or Lamborghini.

            I’m into pickup trucks.

            I’ve owned GM, Ford, RAM and Tundra.

            I’ll take that Tundra 5.7L over anything else any day, any time, any how.

            It’s all about preference. And I put MY money where my mouth is.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “And not everyone can afford to pay the premium that is Tundra, even for that magnificent all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8. The Rolex of truck engines of the automotive world.”

          The real question is, can you afford NOT to buy the Tundra?

          Me, I’m too poor to buy cheap.

          It’s the cheapest man who spends the most.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            >I’m into pickup trucks.

            I’ve owned GM, Ford, RAM and Tundra.

            I’ll take that Tundra 5.7L over anything else any day, any time, any how.

            It’s all about preference. And I put MY money where my mouth is.

            Sorry. I’ll drive my restored 1986 Chevy Pickup instead. 3 on the tree (as in 3-speed Saginaw manual transmission). No air conditioning. Bench seats. Standard 8-foot bed. Easy to work on. One look at the Chevy and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s a truck. It cannot be mistaken for anything else. A truck driven by real men and women who don’t need any other truck to overcompensate for something. A work truck. If I need to drive anywhere else that doesn’t require driving a truck, I take my CAR.

            All the other comfy, cushy, supersized, 4-foot standard bed, manhood-compensating, air-conditioned, SUV front-end-looking trucks listed above can be driven by the wife to the hair salon at the local mall.

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            Look at macho man calling you a sissy for having air conditioning

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            >Look at macho man calling you a sissy for having air conditioning

            I call it as I see it. When it comes to trucks, there’s beauty in simplicity. If I want to drive an air-conditioned vehicle, I take my CAR. When I’m doing yardwork or projects around the house, I take my truck.

            Better odds exist in finding palm trees in Antarctica than finding political correctness from the likes of me…

    • 0 avatar
      DAC17

      If Congress had any b#lls at all, and wanted lower emissions, they would have done their job the right way, and just increased gas taxes. Leaving it to the automakers to force cars on people that don’t want them is chicken ptooey. Raise the gas tax, and let the market do it’s magic.

      • 0 avatar
        sutherland555

        DAC17 That’s exactly how it works in Canada. We have much higher gas taxes and pay, on average 30% more than south of the border. So the most common vehicles are compact cars and CUVs with a (very) healthy sprinkling of trucks in specific regions/provinces. There are still plenty of high end gas guzzlers running around though because those people are willing to/can afford the extra gas.

        • 0 avatar
          DAC17

          Actually, I think that’s pretty much how it works in most first-world countries…

          • 0 avatar
            sutherland555

            It’s simple and effective to get people to drive more more fuel efficient cars. CAFE was an complicated and flawed way to get higher fuel efficiency vehicles (which is a very laudable goal). Too bad Americans would never accept higher gas taxes.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I hear if you use his middle name it makes it sound extra Muslim.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    I wonder how many MPG the Beast gets while BHO was preaching mpgs.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    It really does not matter what the government does about fuel economy. The manufacturers will have to make more economical cars if they want to sell overseas. The cars will either have good fuel economy or be impossible to sell outside the USA. When you consider that approximately half the US population will still be using the old requirements the market will be somewhat small for the gas guzzlers.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Overseas markets don’t regulate by footprint. The other major car markets tend to regulate by vehicle weight. Foreign markets don’t use the same light-truck and passenger car classes.

      CAFE 2025 is not going to help them develop desirable fuel efficient vehicles for international markets. If anything, CAFE 2025 will make it more difficult because footprint regulations tend to encourage vehicle upsizing, which is the antithesis of paradigms elsewhere in the world.

      Europeans don’t want midsize vehicles with stretched wheelbases. Japanese really don’t want stretched wheelbases and larger cars. It’s hard to say what China will want in the long-run, though they have displacement regulations, too.

      We could simplify global regulations by eliminating the footprint rather than by raising the target mpg. The method is what matters, not the mpg number spit out by the forecasting groups.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @TW5 – I do agree that footprint based mpg standards needs to go. Vehicles got bigger in the ’70’s to avoid EPA rules. 1/2 ton pickups became “heavy half’s” to keep ahead of the game. We know have a situation where no one makes a regular cab small truck. Footprint based rules is part of the reason.

      • 0 avatar
        Spike_in_Brisbane

        Regulations vary around the world. I live in Queensland, Australia. I own a Ford Falcon ute (12 l/100km), a Citroen C5 (10 l/100km), a Mercedes S430 (9 l/100km) and a 12m, 10 tonne, Isuzu Lt11 bus (18 l/100km).
        Guess which one costs $200 per year more than any of the others.
        Yep, the Mercedes, purely because it is a V8. The others have variously configured 6 cylinder engines.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This +1. If European and Asia move forward in terms of MPG requirements and the US moves backwards that just generates an even wider gap in the kind of vehicles built for each market.

      Tin foil hat time: I am starting to think the oil industry keeps prices low waiting for people to buy guzzlers then jacks up the prices when they know the market is saturated with fuel hungry vehicles. Then some wiz-bang technology comes out that saves lots of fuel and everyone jumps on that, so the oil guys have to drop prices to lure people back to the juice. It seems every decade we have this cycle between big and small cars:
      70s – big
      80s – small
      90s – big
      00s – small
      10s – big
      20s – ??? the trend should go small again. So are we seeing this with all these new car based CUVs?

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        70s – big
        80s – small
        90s – big
        00s – huge
        10s – big
        20s – huge

        This is what CAFE 2025 will bring. It’s not a mystery. Midsize is the sweetspot for passenger cars. Monster truck is the sweet spot for light trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Add Lightness

        The oil industry just has to look out the window and see what is being driven to plan their strategy for the next price bump.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          The oil industry in NM has made a big comeback, not because of what is being driven, but because of exporting the stuff.

          These are great times for many in the oil bid’ness.

          Happy Days Are Here Again.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        JMII, we have massive reserves of easily accessible (already drilled, tapped, and temporarily shut off after the oil price crash in 2014) oil that can be brought up in about a week to maintain prices close to where they are now. There’s no end in sight, so everyone is going out to buy the biggest thing they can. Even if we imported no oil at all, we have more than we know what to do with right now.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Sierra Club is a total dumpster fire. John Muir was trying to stop Hetch Hetchy Valley from becoming a reservoir, and to protect certain areas of wilderness from commercial encroachment. Now the Sierra Club is trying to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere because, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, CO2 is practically poison to plant-life.

    Anyway, this is a triumph. Fuel economy is vital for ecology and national security, but CAFE 2025 wasn’t going to get it done. In fact, it was pushing people into larger vehicles with substantially lower mpg performance potential, hence the falling CAFE 2025 fuel economy target as sales mix changed.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the damage has already been done. Augural standards can be axed, but we’ll see how much the NHTSA and EPA can achieve without repeal legislation in Congress. Then they need to develop a viable policy alternative that doesn’t wreck the car industry anymore than it has been.

    CAFE killed American sedans. CAFE moved American sedan buyers to SUVs. When the price of oil rose last decade, American manufacturers were crushed. No more imbeciles in Congress dictating automobile attributes to the manufacturers. Make mpg and pass crash test. That’s it. No more light-truck/passenger car. No more footprint. Improve the test so that off-cycle bureaucracy is not required.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    A slight one time relaxing does make sense, but not if idea is to ” permanently plateau” the CAFE standard… that would be a Huuuge..mistake !!

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      What if physics governs that plateau? Infiniti, with variable compression and all the other tricks imaginable, can only beat a run-of-the-mill 2.oh-boy-another-one from the Germans by ONE mile per gallon. One.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Infiniti’s VC system appears only to be compatible with inline engines. Since they aren’t mounting an inline-6 transversely in the QX50, they chose to overboost a 2.0L turbo, which negated many of the fuel economy benefits of variable compression.

        A naturally aspirated engine would make significant gains over other vehicles in the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      “A slight one time relaxing does make sense, but not if idea is to ” permanently plateau” the CAFE standard… that would be a Huuuge..mistake !!”

      Does anyone with half a brain believe that the 54.5 number wasn’t designed to kill off most ICE vehicle?

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Perhaps I have less than half a brain.
        My ’16 Prius has averaged 62mpg calculated by the paper and pencil and odometer method. over 17,000 miles. It is hardly a penalty box. It still has some acceleration available at 100 mph, and is not a bad ride save for road noise on coarse road surfaces at highway speeds.
        Admittedly it is not the most graceful styling, but I buy a machine, not a sculpture, and more people than I ever would have imagined say they like the way it looks.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          Dang, where did the edit button go anyway?
          The base 2018 Camry Hybrid is rated 51/53 and it is bigger more powerful than My Prius.
          54.5 is not that impossible, unless one wants a vehicle half the size of a school bus.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Half of your brain is definitely working. You’ve purchased the most fuel efficient hybrid on the market, which saves gasoline and money. Thumbs up.

          Use the other half of your brain to think about the market as a whole. CAFE says Chevrolet Tahoe must make 31 mpg by 2025. Bye Tahoe. Wrangler Unlimited must make 33mpg by 2025. By Wrangler. And the list of dead cars goes on. Sequoia, Armada, 4Runner, Expedition, etc. etc.

          The only way for these cars to live is for the manufacturers to hybrid literally everything and sell BEV’s galore to generate enough credits to offset the cost of vehicles that can’t comply (even with hybrid powertrain). So you’ll be paying for some guy’s 4Runner, and to reduce the amount of credits necessary, the 4Runner will probably continue to rise in price like the Tahoe, Wrangler, etc. Also, where is FCA going to find passenger car sales to pay for all of the Grand Cherokees, Wranglers, etc?

          Interestingly, Crew Cab standard box pickup trucks will still be allowed because they only need to hit 23mpg. They are almost there now.

          The entire CAFE 2025 arrangement is just plain stupid, and it only made sense when everyone assumed $4-$5 gasoline was the new normal; therefore, hybrids would have negative net cost. That’s not the world we’re living in, and the writing is on the wall. Trump admin must fix this mess, regardless of what public polling says or Sierra Club says or the State of California threatens.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Also, where is FCA going to find passenger car sales to pay for all of the Grand Cherokees, Wranglers, etc?”

            The days of offsetting low mileage trucks with high mileage small cars is over for companies that cannot sell a quarter million copies of said mileage makers.

            This is because those small cars themselves need an inordinate amount of investment to hit their adjusted “car” footprint target, turning them into absolute money losers.

            FCA in NAFTA has instead chosen to make the investment into the vehicles that are in dmeand comply, which happen to sell at higher prices to absorb cost. The Wrangler will be able to hit the 33mpg EPA “on paper” target (different from the monroney label) once the PHEV models are blended into the mix. Things like off-cylce systems (stop/start) and the mild hybrid setup on the 2.0L model give extra EPA mpg credit as well. So what you’re saying is true, automakers have to play a shell game with costs to meet CAFE 2025. The market doesn’t actually demand a PHEV Wrangler, but the EPA does.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ danio3834

            You’re probably right about small cars. The development costs are quite extreme. Manufacturers that haven’t front loaded their costs (by developing current platforms for CAFE 2025) are probably all in deep trouble, not just FCA.

            Regarding the Wrangler Unlimited, I believe 33mpg is the Monroney mpg target. The CAFE standard on paper is 44mpg. These numbers are so stratospheric, it’s hard to believe anyone would agree to them, but they did.

            Credits might be enough to get them across the line. Start-stop is an off cycle boost. Mild hybrid has special credits for a short period of time. Plus, they can exploit other things like eco-friendly AC refrigerant, active aero, high efficiency lighting, electric thermostat, etc. I think ventilated seats get a credit, too.

            The list is seemingly endless. I think someone succeeded in putting crash avoidance technology on the off-cycle list, too, because they successfully argued that congestion kills mpg and it is often caused by accidents in urban areas.

            Anyway, I doubt Wrangler will make it even if all credit features are added.

        • 0 avatar
          IBx1

          @ttacgreg, so you’re saying we all need to give up our choice in a free and open marketplace and all drive a prius.

          I’ll keep my tubes untied, thank you.

        • 0 avatar
          carguy67

          “Admittedly it is not the most graceful styling”

          You sir, win the ‘Understatement of the Day’ award.

  • avatar
    Ion

    They should’ve just upped and expanded the gas guzzler tax in the first place. People will pay extra for their V6’s and up. Instead we tried to force cars that buyers don’t want on to them. The argument that rolling back cafe will hurt the lower middle class is rubbish. Most midsize cars and down have always had a 4cyl option.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Upping the gas tax is by far the simplest and most effective solution. Build the price of all the externalities carried by a gallon of gas into the price, and offset it with a reduction in income tax rates and an expansion of the EITC. Pretty much every economist has been saying this for the last decade or two.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Grover Norquist has made raising any tax impossible for Republicans.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ astigmatism

        Federal motor fuels excise is the illusion of simplicity. Raising the federal tax sharply will crowd out state tax revenues and create a huge funding shortfall. The feds would have to apportion the tax revenue based upon the locality in which is was collected.

        As you point out, it requires substantial tax adjustment to lower-middle income earners, who may not actually be poor or lower middle income. Plenty of very wealthy seniors have relatively small incomes, particularly if they are land rich.

        Gasoline tax is better than CAFE. That reality is a condemnation of CAFE, not an endorsement of sumptuary taxation on fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          TW5,
          What astigmatism put forward is pretty much used by every country in the world.

          Why is it the US should be different?

          The simplest method is have in place a system similar to what we have in Australia.

          A free market system using tax on fuel to govern vehicle culture.

          You then can import and manufacture what you want and it will save a gazillion dollars. No need to duplicate testing etc.

          So, if you buy German the German’s have done all the testing.

          This is called harmonisation of standards, sort of like the metric system. You have heard of the metric system in the US?

          Why not change the US dollar and base it on 12c for a dime and 3 times for a dollar!

          • 0 avatar
            road_pizza

            “A free market system using tax on fuel to govern vehicle culture.” That’s the very antithesis of the free market system.

      • 0 avatar
        jfb43

        This. California, in all its infinite wisdom, should just raise state gas tax to $5 a gallon instead of picking yet another fight with the feds. It’d accomplish the same thing and might actually benefit the state’s fiscal situation. But then the anger would be directed towards Sacramento and the governor can’t have that.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          And people who can, will pay it.

          People who can’t will have to find another way to get around.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            Such as more fuel efficient vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Maybe, if they can afford it.

            Chances are that it may be cheaper for them just to continue to use that old wreck rather than stick themselves in debt for a new(er) more fuel efficient vehicle.

            The cost of fuel in America is a bargain, well at least in those states that don’t tax it into oblivion, like CA.

        • 0 avatar
          jfb43

          As Astigmatism said, they’d need to lower income taxes to offset it, but when has California ever lowered taxes? Obviously it’s a pretty regressive tax, and the liberal utopia that is supposed to fight for the little guy and the poor can’t be seen imposing such a thing. So they’d just end up robbing Peter to pay Paul in the form of subsidies, and I guess it would be a wash revenue-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I suppose there might be some logic to the gas guzzler tax if they applied it to all vehicles, proportionally, rather than just cars. But taxing fuel consumption directly makes far more sense.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Any increase in gas tax will disproportionately affect the less fortunate in American society.

        For most Americans, they’ll pay whatever the going rate for fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          highdesertcat,
          What this does is lift the average cost of vehicle ownership in the US. Using more fuel equates to more money.

          What your bestest mate Donnie Dump and his highly changable herd of clowns should of done is just leave CAFE as it is and increase tax on fuel to the amount that the larger vehicles will cost to operate.

          So, if FE drops 1mpg (or whatever) increase fuel tax 10c per gallon per 1mpg drop.

          This will have the same effect on the economy and collect more money for transport infrastructure.

        • 0 avatar
          sutherland555

          highdesertcat

          The correct answer is a higher gas tax if you want to get people to buy more fuel efficient cars. It works in Canada where we pay, on average, 30% more for gas than south of the border. Lots of compact cars and CUVs here but our fair share of gas guzzling vehicles too for those who want them and can afford them.

          American’s have it really good for gas prices, probably the cheapest gas in any 1st world country. You probably also have the cheapest cars too. So to ease the pain for the less well-off Americans, you gradually increase the gas tax. For arguments/simplicity’s sake, say 5 cents per year over 10 years then index all future yearly increases to inflation. Everyone has to eventually replace their car so by the time they need to, you’ve got a good amount of used fuel efficient cars on the market.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            sutherland555, not everyone would agree that a higher tax is the correct answer.

            What people choose to buy is up each and everyone of them. Life is not fair, and neither is the distribution of wealth.

            People with money buy whatever they want without regard to price or cost of fuel.

            Like I said, I’ve never cared about the cost of gasoline. I’d buy it as long as I had money to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      If someone buys a Dodge Viper for their collection, and they only drive it 1,000 miles per year, they should pay a $10,000 gas guzzler tax for their eco-sins? Gas guzzler tax has problems, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        They would have willingly chose the Viper over say a Corvette or a Tesla roadster.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          So it doesn’t bother you that the gas guzzler tax is placing taxes on people who aren’t guzzling gas? You still think it’s a good idea even if it’s just a tax on cars you say people shouldn’t buy?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Most people in general are cool with taxes as long as they perceive them to be on someone other than themselves. Free ride, yo.

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            The gas guzzler tax goes by MPG of the vehicle. A 6L V10 guzzles more gas. I’m not saying no one shouldn’t buy a particular vehicle. In fact I’m saying the opposite. Under a revised gas guzzler tax a person might still be able to buy a Viper they would just have to pay more money for one. Conversely CAFE eliminates vehicles like a Viper or even a V6 accord because they drag down the average of that brand.
            Now a better argument would be for the people who have to buy a particular vehicle due to their occupation. Like say a contractor who needs a pickup with a high towing capacity. For that they would have to work out a system

          • 0 avatar
            SunnyvaleCA

            The biggest problem with the gas guzzler tax is that it only applies to cars, not “light” trucks. Dodge Magnum SRT8 verses Mercedes E55 AMG wagon … both basically are station wagons, but only the one that gets BETTER gas mileage is hit with a gas guzzler tax.

            Some people say that contractors need enormous guzzling trucks to do their jobs. But what contracting jobs nowadays require larger, heavier, and much more powerful trucks than what was needed 30 years ago? A modern pickup truck with the size, weight, and power of a 30 year old F150 could get 30 MPH pretty easily.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            You really think the democrats are going to support a regressive tax? Increasing the gas tax is 0/2 with major political parties.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    It will be interesting to see the litigation that comes out of this. Pruitt obviously was just issuing a press release and there will surely be more info provided when the EPA officially releases the decision, but Trump’s own White House found that the Obama administration’s CAFE rules provided an annual economic benefit of between $21-29 billion against an annual cost of $5-9 billion. Considering the record the Trump administration has had defending its executive actions in court, this one will likely be winding its way through the courts for years.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      California already signified they will burn taxpayer dollars suing the federal government for serving its taxpayers. The claim about the Obama administration rules is dubious and probably incorrect. CAFE 2016 yielded the benefits you referenced. The first year of CAFE 2025 (2017) yielded fleet fuel economy improvement of .1 miles per gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        “The claim about the Obama administration rules is dubious and probably incorrect.”

        You should tell the Trump administration.

        https://www.eenews.net/assets/2018/02/26/document_pm_01.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          The link provides no information about Obama in any capacity. It merely references his whitehouse.gov archives because Obama was in office when the attribute specific regulations were launched, as prescribed by the law years before Obama was elected.

          Obama’s CAFE regs are 2017-2025. The first year saw fuel economy improve .1mpg

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            The report specifically addresses the Obama administration’s CAFE rules. See page 85: Joint Rulemaking to Establish 2017 and Later Model Year Light Duty Vehicle GHG Emissions and CAFE Standards, published 10/15/12 – these are the rules we’re talking about. Benefits of between $21,220,000,000-$28,822,000,000 per annum, costs of $5,305,000,000-$8,828,000,000 per annum.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Astigmatism,
            Don’t talk about progress and improving US competitiveness. Boy, this scares the flat earthers that want to have the “olden days” back!

            Low horsepower, fuel guzzling V8s in sh!tty rust prone vehicles.

  • avatar
    bkojote

    “Many within the trump administration”

    I’m willing to guess those within the trump administration cited were either D students or opportunist corporate shills (pruitt.) Then again if there’s anyone in the trump administration who doesn’t fall into either of those categories, well, there’s your good news for the day.

    Assuming the current administration isn’t 86’d with treason charges, I envision a bleak future of history repeating itself, only this time the bankrupt US government isn’t able to bail out FCA and the “Build The Wall” crowd is befuddled that there’s no more hecho-en-mexico Rams to put their ‘Hillary For Prison’ stickers on.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      ” no more hecho-en-mexico Rams to put their ‘Hillary For Prison’ stickers on.”

      keep up with the times genius, FCA is in fact shutting down all Ram production in Mexico and moving them to Michigan, including the 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks.

      GM and Toyota will be the only two makers left I think making US market pickup trucks in Mexico once the FCA move is complete.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Just between you and me, the Wall Street Journal, hardly a left wing rag, interviewed our esteemed president.

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/transcript-of-donald-trump-interview-with-the-wall-street-journal-1515715481

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Cash for clunkers (CARS) was the pinnacle of B. Hussein Obama’s automobile initiatives, the only one that remotely made sense. Everything else was either knee-jerk reaction or raw meat for his base. He forced people out of sedans and into crew cab pickups and SUVs. Genius.

  • avatar
    Ce he sin

    If his middle name was say John would you have made the same comment?
    No, of course not.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      John doesn’t allow Hezbollah to operate in the United States. John doesn’t call ISIS a JV team and then let them steal Iraqi oil reserves and destabilize the Middle East. John doesn’t think Sharia Law is okay.

      Well, the above statements are true as long as you’re not talking about John Owen Brennan.

  • avatar
    AndyYS

    If the price of gas goes up folks will get more interested in high gas mileage cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Turbo Is Black Magic

      Imports corner the market again and big 3 ask for bailouts again… I feel like we have been down this path before.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo2

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        As an automaker, what do you choose to do with your limited resources? Build what the market demands over a safely projected 3-5 years that will guarantee a profit, or take an expensive gamble that the market will turn on it’s head overnight? Not to mention that CAFE 2025 small cars are inherently unprofitable due to the investment required to make them hit their own astronomically high footprint adjusted targets.

        It’s no accident that EVERY automaker selling in NAFTA has gone or is going heavy into crossovers/SUVs. Even if they barely “crossover” you can bet that at least a portion of the configurations of that model qualify as “trucks” under the EPA. “Cars” of CAFE 2025 are FWD crossovers.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    sigh…Jalopnik…

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    As long as America can hang in there until January 20th 2021, this just delays the inevitable. I give her a solid 30% chance.

    Anyone want to bet what the odds are of another Great Depression in the next 33 months… Der Gropenfuher and his yes men are not exactly good at global economics…

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Relaxing these standards is fine; CAFE is more a system for accountants to manipulate balance sheets than useful carrot/stick metric for efficiency. Rest-of-world even sillier with displacement taxes and the like.

    And both approaches end up fixating vehicles to different versions of same thing. The turbo-4 fad is maximizing performance for a (arbitrary) regulatory benchmark. And every public efficiency-measuring scheme is currently outdated in context of electric cars anyways.

    Contrast these metrics (and the CO2 paranoia) with the more productive and objective analysis and subsequent regulation/innovation etc. of air pollution from exhaust – something the European regulators compromised with their diesel fetish (less CO2 and fuel per kilometer).

    Efficiency metrics need to be re-thought along new paradigms (sorry) to be anything effective towards their intent for the modern vehicle world.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      Careful, you’re starting to make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      Maybe we should just measure MPG using the (larger) British imperial gallons.

      We could switch to Celsius while we’re at it. I mean, who’s going to complain about global warming if it’s 35 degrees outside!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      CarnotCycle
      Your comment; ‘Rest-of-world even sillier with displacement taxes and the like.’

      Um …………. does the rest of the world do this?

      This is news to me, or, is this another “Americanised” view of the world to make yourselves feel better at being screwed?

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Yes, yes…let the butthurt flow through you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA this is glorious!

  • avatar
    jthorner

    My interest in automobiles started by reading enthusiast magazines (buff books) in the early 1970s. Every issue was full of whining about how the government was ruining everything with emissions and safety regulations. The US car companies said it was all too expensive and impossible to accomplish.

    Now that time has played out, any reasonable observer should say that emissions, safety and fuel economy regulations have in fact been a good thing. You can drive through the Lincoln Tunnel into NYC without choking on the fumes. You can see the mountains around LA because most of the orange smog has lifted. You are much less likely to die driving to work today then you were in the good old days. Cars last radically longer, handle better and need much less frequent service and repair than they did in the good old days.

    Go to countries which eschewed such regulations and you will find vehicles which pollute more, burn more fuel and are more likely to get you killed than do the vehicles in more developed, more regulated places.

    Trump & Co. say they want to take us back to the good old days. I lived those days, and the automotive world of the 1960s and 1970s was a much worse place than it is today. Bring back protectionist trade policies and deregulation and only the worst of the past will come back.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Yes, it only cost us the American automobile industry, billions in TARP bailouts, and a trillion gallons of gasoline unnecessarily consumed as people jumped from sedans to fullsize pickups and SUVs. Also, hundreds of thousands of people died in lightweight CAFE tin cans, and that’s why the NHTSA demanded footprint based regulations the second time around.

      CAFE was a trek westward. We could have taken the Oregon Trail, but we took the Trail of Tears instead. Eco warriors don’t think we’ve suffered enough yet.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The US car companies said it was all too expensive and impossible to accomplish.”

      Their tears were justified. They had to completely redesign their fleets while the market was basically handed on a platter to manufacturers who already made vehicles for other markets that met the new standards. It took years of development and market share loss for them to catch up.

      Also, keep in mind, emissions standards are very separate from CAFE. A reduction in CAFE won’t make any discernable difference to air quality as emissions standards remain in place and are stricter than ever.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Is anyone really going to make a case that the 54.5mpg standard by 2025 was reasonable and that consumers would not face brutal consequences if any government was crazy enough to go along?

    • 0 avatar
      Zane Wylder

      Pruitt did the right thing, 54 wasn’t reasonable at all

      I’ll hold off on the deeper stuff, just let’s see what the new numbers are, then the free market decides what we want

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well Donald Trump complained no one outside of the US buys US made vehicles.

    Well, he’s making it even harder to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      It was always mission impossible because of the lack of quality and different markets. It was like Chevy’s attempt to sell Cavaliers as Toyotas in Japan – never gonna happen.

      Full-size pickups? The US does those very well…but it’s a limited market across the oceans….

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Dave M.
        I really like the new Ram and I hope it does well. It would be the nicest looking pickup from the US in eons.

        Hopefully FCA can nail down it’s quality.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    This should mean Dodge Challenger/Charger and Chrysler 300 and their HEMIs won’t be redesigned for at least another decade. Good thing, as they are still the best big coupes and vehicles around.

    • 0 avatar
      Zane Wylder

      If the standards are real relaxed, hopefully Naturally Aspirated engines return

      Back when they were a niche, Turbo 4’s were cool. Now they’re generic

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Well this thread went where I figured it would.

    I can accept these rules might have had their time and place. I don’t think so much anymore, especially as modified as they are. They’re kinda corrupted now.

    But I also look at advances in safety like stability control, abs, massive improvement in tire technology and safety. Radar cruise, blind spot monitor, parking assist sensors etc, and how much power we have now…. And I’m not sure these fuel rules are needed. We may find more variety of vehicles, more innovation, different methods of getting fuel consumption reductions without these rules. Innovation won’t stop just because a mandate is gone.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The high CAFE mandates were a good thing in my opinion. Spurned innovation, growing electric fleet, even more efficient cars we would consider gas guzzlers like pickups. I think anything that makes America more energy independent is a huge positive. If there is one lesson from the past that we need to recall is that other countries having control over our oil supply is extreme dangerous for all sorts of autophiles.

    I think trucks were essentially exempt from the harshest mandates, which is BS, but I don’t see the need to roll it back.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The fuel economy rules will continue getting tougher through 2021, but the manufacturers have a realistic shot at meeting those regulations because they follow the CAFE 2016 glide path.

      The Trump administration is merely cancelling the waterboarding session Obama scheduled for 2022-2025. These augural standards are not final, and they were supposed to be adjusted during midterm review. Everyone knows the augural standards must go away. Certain political factions are merely using this as an opportunity to squeal and fundraise.

  • avatar
    Zane Wylder

    Now the free market can choose instead of the government

    I’m all for it!

  • avatar
    Ultraviolet Thunder

    I am a rare breed of computer geek, car lover, and student of history and politics.

    And I can assure you that the Obama era EPA standards were not designed to save the environment nor were they to make us greener.

    It was all about forcing Americans into driving the vehicles of the leftist nirvana and to prevent the vehicles we love from being built – those wasteful pickups and SUV’s.

    Since the left cannot yet tell us what to buy as a vehicle, they can force automakers into only being able to build some – and then if they don’t sell, that is not all bad. Just remember the Obama voter is also against toilet paper usage – and I’m not lying. Do your research. They aren’t pragmatic or informed or able to use facts – they want us all to live as they do – in misery.

    • 0 avatar

      “I am a rare breed of computer geek, car lover, and student of history and politics.”

      You seem to know me personally, down to my education.

    • 0 avatar
      Zane Wylder

      Finally, someone with common sense here

      If I knew ya in person, I’d buy ya a drink

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      CAFE 2025 is friendly to fullsize trucks. Besides giving long-wheelbase trucks a lenient set of standards, the EPA also has a special expanded CAFE credit for putting hybrid systems on fullsize trucks.

      Obama admin wanted us to have two choices of ICE vehicle. Prius-like midsize car or a crew cab pickup. If you want something else, it must be some form of EV.

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        Yes, the entire point was to promote investment in hybrid tech.

        I don’t really get why that should have been so hard. Want a CAFE of 54mpg? Make all your midsize sedans some kinda hybrid. Boom, done, everyone wins.

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    “On Monday, EPA head Scott Pruitt indicated his agency . . .”
    Big oil lackey with no background in science in charge of the EPA? What could go wrong? We are screwed till Agent Orange is jailed or other.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Agent Orange is jailed or other.”

      Wow bro quit with your subversive racism and dog whistling against tan people!

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      Oh, I don’t know if previous management was very good either.

      Remember the top climate-change guy at EPA who routinely took months off work while lying to his boss (EPA Admin) that he was in Pakistan on ‘deep cover’ for the CIA while actually puttering around his garden?

      Or how this schmuck got caught because somebody reviewed his paperwork to see why he was getting paid salary months after retiring?

      Oh, you didn’t hear such negative things about EPA when Obama was Prez? Funny that.

      But either way, not exactly the team I’d trust to take it to Big Oil or whatever.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    It is interesting that Car Makers aren’t exactly falling all over themselves to praise the EPA for a policy that makes so much sense.

    Pruitt’s Chevy Dealership Announcement Cancelled
    https://jalopnik.com/chevrolet-dealership-reportedly-backs-out-of-event-wher-1824272858

    Together with Ford’s statement yesterday, makes you wonder….

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      By not praising the EPA, then can have it both ways… lower standards and still virtue signaling their love for the environment. That’s good business and good image marketing.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So… what are the new numbers?

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Not going to complain as IMHO Obama raised the fuel economy standard to an unreachable level that would have made pretty much every vehicle a “gas guzzler” resulting in a major windfall of gas guzzler taxes for the Feds. Follow the money, people.

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