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Automakers want Trump to work with CA on mileage requirements

by Drew Johnson

Some of the world's major automakers are now standing by tougher mileage regulations.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an organization that represents a dozen automakers, including Porsche, BMW, General Motors and Ford, has apparently changed its tune when it comes to proposed fuel economy regulations.

The trade group penned a letter to the White House's Office of Management and Budget on May 3 urging the Trump administration to work closely with the state of California on upcoming mileage requirements. The letter was made public this week.

"Automakers remain committed to increasing fuel efficiency requirements, which yield everyday fuel savings for consumers while also reducing emissions -- because climate change is real and we have a continuing role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving fuel efficiency," David Schwietert, executive vice president of federal government relations at the alliance, wrote in the letter, according to Automotive News.

The letter is in sharp contrast to the alliance's previous stance on fuel economy regulations. In late 2016 the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers urged then president-elect Trump to ease back Obama-era mileage regulations spanning through the 2025 model year. In April, President Trump followed through and deemed the 2022-25 model year standard too aggressive.

However, California is throwing a wrench into the federal governments plans. The state says it is unwilling to alter its requirements for future economy standards and has even threatened legal actions over the matter. That would mean a potential patchwork of mileage standards, which automakers are trying to avoid.

"Operating under two or three sets of regulations would be inefficient and disrupt a period of rapid innovation in the auto industry," Schwietert wrote. In other words, it would cost automakers a lot of money.

So far the White House has not responded publicly to the letter.