President Donald Trump has commenced the process of rolling back strict vehicle pollution standards enforced under the Obama administration.
Under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been instructed to review Obama’s fuel efficiency standards in a move which has been championed by automakers ever since Trump was elected to office.
Speaking about the changes, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said “These standards are costly for automakers and the American people. We will work with our partners at the department of transport 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.”
Under the standards from the Obama administration, the efficiency of new vehicles sold in the United States would have to steadily improve through 2025 and ultimately reach 54.5 mpg on average.
Vox reports that these standards are largely locked in through to 2021 but standards between 2022 and 2025 can be altered and this is where Trump is stepping it.
The Auto Alliance trade group, consisting of the likes of FCA, Ford, GM, VW, BMW, Mitsubishi and Toyota, sent a letter to Trump arguing that fuel standards need to be loosened to better meet the demand of consumers in the current times of low fuel prices.
It will be quite simple for the EPA to review current standards yet they can’t scrap them altogether and could relax the schedule or provide automakers with more credit to help them comply. Any changes will have to be written into a new regulation which could be challenged in court.