Trump White House looking to slash fuel economy targets

Trump White House looking to slash fuel economy targets

by Drew Johnson

The proposed standards would rollback Obama-era regulations.

The Trump Administration is considering new fuel economy regulations that could drastically reduce the average fleetwide fuel economy standards put into place under President Obama.

According to a draft National Highway Traffic Safety Administration analysis obtained by Bloomberg News, the Trump White House is considering several options that would reduce the average corporate fleetwide fuel economy requirements for future vehicles. The most aggressive of those options is a plan to reduce the fleetwide average to 35.7mpg by 2026, down from the current rules that would require a 46.6mpg average.

If that new standard is adopted, the NHTSA estimates that just 10 percent of new car and light truck sales would need to be comprised of hybrids or plug-ins to meet the 35.7mpg requirement. In contrast, 61 percent of all new vehicles would have to be electrified to hit the 46.6mg standard.

Automakers have lobbied the Trump administration to relax the Obama-era regulations, but California — the nation's largest single auto market — is pushing for more stringent tailpipe rules. The powerful California Air Resources Board would in all likelihood challenge any changes made to the economy requirement by the Trump White House.

"It's clear that in order to stay competitive globally, the U.S. auto industry needs to keep pace with the rest of the world. That's where California is moving,” said Stanley Young, a CARB spokesperson. "It is unwise for the federal government to set the clock of automotive technology back a decade.”

The NHTSA is set to beginning putting rules into place for the 2022-25 model years at the end of March.