Obama’s last ditch effort to derail Trump deregulation

Man inspecting auto parts on assembly linePresident-elect Donald Trump has vowed to walk back Obama administration environmental regulations to make U.S. industry more competitive—but President Obama is forging ahead to finalize a spate of last minute EPA rules.

One of the main areas in which Trump is expected to improve the regulatory environment is the automotive industry. U.S. automakers are counting on his incoming administration to block Obama’s burdensome fuel mileage requirements for new vehicles.

But the outgoing administration is doing everything it can to make sure its regulatory roadblocks endure.

In an interview with The Detroit News, Eno Center for Transportation senior fellow Jeff Davis said the Obama administration appears to be working to “flood the zone” with new regulations, a move that could make Trump’s deregulation efforts take years.

“Getting rid of these rules isn’t something Trump can do with the stroke of a pen on Jan. 20,” Davis said. “A lot of these rules can be with us for a long time, even if the administration is actively opposed to them from Day One.”

The auto alliance which represents Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, BMW Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Car USA charged that the Obama moves are purely political and bound to hurt U.S. consumers.

Here’s how The Detroit News breaks down the regulations:

The increase, which some automakers have said might be too ambitious, starts with a rise to an average of over 35 miles per gallon for the 2017 models that already are being rolled out. The mileage rules call for automakers to achieve a fleetwide average mileage rate of more than 36 miles per gallon for cars and trucks in 2018.

The standard then increases to more than 37 miles per gallon in 2019 and nearly 39 miles per gallon in 2020, which is before automakers will have a chance to weigh in on the need for any course corrections. By 2021, automakers will be required to hit a combined average of 41 miles per gallon for their cars and trucks.

If the rules for model years after 2021 are left in place, the emission standard will increase to about 43 miles per gallon combined for cars and trucks in 2022, before jumping to about 45 miles per gallon in 2023. The final years of the mandate will see a required average of about 47 miles per gallon in 2024, and finally more than 55 miles per gallon for cars and about 40 miles per gallon for trucks in 2025.

Auto companies that do not meet the higher emission standards will be fined $5.50 for each 10th of a mile-per-gallon their average fuel economy falls short of the standard for a model year, multiplied by the total volume of vehicles that are in the fleet that fails to meet the new requirements.

John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, said in a statement last week: “The EPA decision to deny stakeholders an opportunity to provide thorough and thoughtful comments on a regulatory program that could affect billions in investment is sadly predictable.

“EPA’s hurried determination, and lack of transparency, only increases suspicions surrounding the agency’s decision, undermining confidence in its objectivity and impartiality,” he added.

With just under a month to go before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration has enacted around $5 billion in midnight regulations that will add 350,000 new paperwork hours for U.S. businesses in the automotive and energy sectors.

Support the Will County News when you shop on Amazon