The White House and Auto Industry at Odds When it Comes to the Fuel Economy

Carmakers and the White House are at a current impasse with issues regarding fuel economy. The White House stands firm in its demand: Support the plan to roll back fuel economy criteria or don’t and deal with President Trump backing California’s emissions requisites. This demand was given at the end of February by the president’s administration officials to auto executives in a conference call.

It came after the administration officials shutdown federal regulators, and California officials discussions on unified emission standards; tanking automakers attempt to get the two parties to agree to avoid a legal battle that could lead to court decided emission rules. The reason for this shutdown according to a Feb. 21 statement by the White House: “Despite the administration’s best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative.”

The White House or administrations’ involvement in trying to change the fuel economy and the auto industry is nothing new. Back in August, the administration began trying to reverse rules made by the Obama administration on the tailpipe carbon emissions standards and fuel economy requirements. Instead of allowing the tailpipe carbon emissions standards and fuel economy requirements to rise to 47 mpg by the end of 2020, they want to try to stop it at 37 mpg. This was part of a proposal by the EPA and the traffic safety administration wanting to try to rid of California’s ability to dictate its own greenhouse standards for vehicles.

Most carmakers in the auto industry have wanted a change with the fuel economy and tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards, yet they are still hesitant to be as drastic as the administration has wanted them to be. They have tried to get the two sides, the administration and the California Air Resources Board, to instead come to an agreement. By coming to an agreement, the auto industry could avoid dealing with legal battles that could leave the industry in a state of unpredictability. The motive behind this neutral standing ties into the looming threat of Trump’s 25 percent tariffs and how the industry is currently holding up.