According to three people close to the matter, the U.S. government has started to circulate a draft proposal which would see a freeze on requirements from 2020 until 2026 in what is a dramatic departure from the strict fuel economy standards implemented under former President Barack Obama.
Under Obama, automakers were to be required to double average fleet-wide fuel efficiency to roughly 50 miles (80 km) per gallon by 2025. However, automakers have been pushing for this rule to be relaxed from the moment Donald Trump took office. They claim the standards are too strict and not in line with consumer sentiment that’s shifted towards larger and less fuel-efficient vehicles.
Carmakers will get what they asked for
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have confirmed that they are working on revising fuel economy standards.
“The Trump Administration is crafting a proposal that is dramatically weaker than any automobile manufacturer has requested and that also deliberately seeks to embark on a legal collision course with the State of California — a scenario that automakers, lawmakers and the state of California have all repeatedly urged the administration to avoid,” Democrat Senator Tom Carper said.
The draft proposal is tipped to assert that a federal law from 1975 preempts states like California from imposing its own emissions rules. However, the Trump administration isn’t expected to revoke California’s waiver to set its own rules under the Clean Air Act.