President Trump announced his plan to make domestic American automotive manufacturing ‘Great Again’ by putting the breaks on fuel efficiency. Trump marveled at the proud history of domestic car manufacturing in a meeting with auto industry executives and union leaders earlier this year. He pledged to re-visit efforts to maintain fuel efficiency targets set in place by the former Obama administration by taking approximately another year to review the issue.
A midterm review will take place before new fuel efficiency standards are set in 2018.
He stated the details as part of a bigger picture for America to be “the car capital of the world again,” at the American Centre for Mobility. The announcement was made in Ypsilanti, Michigan on the outskirts of Detroit, which reigned for years as the former world’s pinnacle of automotive industry innovation and manufacturing.
There’s no telling how much mileage a promise to maintain fuel efficiency targets for vehicles will log to resurrect domestic American manufacturing. Obama originally billed his administration’s plan to reach Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) emissions targets no later than 2025 with a focus on combating climate change. CAFÉ aims to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks.
Trump’s critics assert he has put economic growth in the driver’s seat while many fear environmental focus will take a back seat and rules with a focus on lowering corporate emissions erode in stagnation. So far, the Trump administration has only vowed to get rid of “job-killing” regulations without identifying which ones specifically meet the criteria for elimination.
Chuck Schumer, Democrat Senate Minority Leader for New York took the criticism one step further by calling the roll back an ‘all-out assault’ on the progression of environmental policy such as a primary rule to reduce emissions for cars and trucks to 54.5 mpg by 2025, which is already a long way down the road.
Amid the delays to cut emissions, car sales dropped last year thanks to low gas prices that increased the demand for larger vehicles with more room and features.
The administration is listening to pressure in a letter from 12 leading manufacturers including the Detroit Three, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and VW asking for a roll back on the standard fuel targets already set by Obama. They say an already suffering domestic industry can’t afford to pay the cost of fuel efficiency at these unrealistically high standards.
A leading manufacturing executive took a more pointed approach to explaining the problem asserting that regulation standards set by Obama were littered with assumptions, incomplete analysis and failure to acknowledge and respond to evidence that does not support their conclusions.
Elaine Chao, Transportation secretary supported manufacturers and sees the curb on setting new standards this year to be a “win” for the American economy overall, the environment and consequently consumers considering the state of the industry.
Environmentalists disagree with her and believe that keeping to the current standards and pushing for more of the rules and standards to reduce CAFÉ emissions will prove effective by saving money and keeping fuel costs low in the future.