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Trump’s EPA to freeze Obama-era fuel efficiency standards

This week, the new head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, told USA Today that the agency intends to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

During Obama’s two-term presidency, his EPA implemented fuel standards to increase fuel efficiency, identified climate change as a national security issue, and developed several plans to reduce emissions and fossil fuel use.

President Donald Trump has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that climate change is far from a priority and has already begun to undo several key environmental protection policies and orders of the Obama Administration.

Now, Andrew Wheeler told USA Today that the agency is working with the Trump Administration to undo Obama era fuel-economy standards and will announce more formal plans next week.

In 2012, car manufacturers were given till 2016 to increase vehicle mileage to 34.5 miles per gallon with standards expected to rise by 2025 to 54.5 miles per gallon.

Wheeler aims to revisit those later restriction rises, but the new plans will not affect current increases in fuel efficiency in new car models.

“They jumped the gun,” Wheeler told USA Today. “It was a political attempt to try to move up the process and what we’re doing is taking the deliberative process of looking at the midyear review the way it was originally intended to be done.”

Potential fuel efficiency freezes would be good news for car manufacturers, as it’s been argued by automakers that Americans don’t want high-mileage cars and being forced to produce them would be costly, limit consumer options, decrease profits, and impact the entire industry.

However, not all car companies stand by those statements.

A spokesperson for Ford told USA Today that the company supports “increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback.”

The state of California, a leader in state-run environmental regulations, is also committed to keeping with the former president’s goals for fuel efficiency.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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