EPA Chief Hints Vehicle Emission Rules Could Tighten Under Trump - With a Twist

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
epa chief hints vehicle emission rules could tighten under trump with a twist

It’s certainly taking this fuel economy rollback proposal we’ve heard so much about a long time to evolve into its final form. Unfortunately, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler has indicated more changes could be needed before a final draft can be released. However, in a bit of a twist, he’s now claiming the proposal will actually be more rigorous than preexisting mandates. Kind of.

“In some of the out years, we’re actually more restrictive on CO2 emissions than the Obama proposal was,” Wheeler told a crowd at the Detroit Economic Club this week.

While most believe the final draft won’t be far from the original draft that suggests freezing fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026, the EPA has indicated changes will be made. No specifics were given, though Wheeler expressed a desire to close “loopholes” he believed allowed vehicle-based pollution to slip through the cracks. He was also critical of electric vehicle subsidies, expressing concern that automakers would put most of their focus on pricer EVs (with better margins) or simply raise the price of popular internal-combustion models to offset development costs.

Reuters has more:

On a separate point, Wheeler said the EPA is prepared to enact new regulations to curtail smog, and plans to set new standards next year for nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy trucks.

The Trump administration is embroiled in a legal battle over automotive tailpipe emissions with the State of California and other states that want to keep Obama administration standards, which call for pushing the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles to 46.7 miles per gallon by 2026.

The Trump administration’s earlier proposal called for freezing the average vehicle fuel efficiency target at 37 mpg. Wheeler said he is hopeful California regulators will have a different view when they see the administration’s final proposal.

Only three automakers complied with U.S. fuel efficiency standards in 2017, Wheeler noted, saying the Obama rules “are not based on reality.”

Will California embrace the revamped draft? We sincerely doubt it. Despite the current administration making efforts to make the proposal more eco-friendly and financially responsible, it will still seek to end California’s ability to self-regulate vehicle CO2 emissions. That’ll be a nonstarter on the West Coast.

[Image: Albert H. Teich/Shutterstock]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 24, 2019

    Not just smaller turbo engines but lighter more expensive materials like carbon fiber will be used to get the weight down. Also more hybrid systems and use of shutters in grills to control the flow of air. Not a lot of low hanging fruit left to gain more efficiencies and what is left will cost more.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 24, 2019

    @highdesertcat--Agree. It's not a matter of the auto manufacturers wanting to make the smaller turbo engines and wanting to eventually be all EV it is that they are planning for more regulations which is the worse case scenario. I believe we still have a few more years before we see the total demise of V8s and even more years before the elimination of ICE which by then I will either be dead or too old to drive or even care. Agree if you really want that Hell Cat buy it soon because its days are limited.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.