Oct 2, 2019

Trump officials likely to back off automotive regulations freeze

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Trump administration will likely endorse modest increases in vehicle mileage and emissions standards when it completes rules to weaken Obama-era mandates, multiple sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move, depending on the details, will likely force automakers into tough decisions about whether to endorse it.

  • The industry's position is that there should be annual increases, rather than no gains through the mid-2020s.
  • EPA and the Transportation Department had initially proposed freezing the Obama administration's planned increases in 2020.

What they're saying: "[B]ased on other conversations with the administration and others ... it seems likely that the final rule will require some year-over-year efficiency improvements," said a source familiar with the administration's thinking.

Where it stands: Big players are already going their own way. 4 automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — struck a deal with California in July that they say amounts to 3.7% annual efficiency gains in model years 2022–2026.

  • It's very unlikely that the Trump administration will go nearly that far, given that the deal with California is in the ballpark of the Obama-era standards (although somewhat weaker).

Flashback: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has hinted at the prospect of backing off the freeze. On Sept. 19 he said the final rule "will not look exactly the same way that we proposed it.”

  • An EPA spokesperson declined comment.

Go deeper: EPA to roll back California's power to enforce strict auto emissions standards

Go deeper

Why automakers splintered over Trump's emissions war with California

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's stark new evidence that big automakers are divided over how to navigate White House moves to upend mileage and carbon emissions policies.

Driving the news: GM, Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler and others are now backing the Trump administration's move to yank California's power to impose CO2 rules — and by proxy mileage rules — that exceed federal standards.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

Auto industry splinters in climate fight

The high-stakes battle between President Trump and California over auto mileage and carbon emissions rules is getting even messier.

Driving the news: GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and others announced they are joining the Trump administration's side in litigation over its move to block California from imposing emissions rules — and by proxy mileage requirements — that are tougher than federal standards.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

Senate Democrats plan to force vote on Trump's power plant emissions rule

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Democrats intend to force a roll call vote next week on EPA regulations that scrapped Obama-era carbon emissions rules for power plants and replaced them with a more modest alternative.

Why it matters: Floor votes on global warming are rare, and the bid to scuttle the Trump administration rule signals Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) increasing emphasis on the topic.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019