Trump Fuel Economy Target Set for March Release

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Jan. 18, 2018—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will propose new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks by the end of March, signaling how the Trump administration plans to alter ambitious automobile efficiency rules created under former President Barack Obama, according to Bloomberg.

President Donald Trump in March reinstated a review of coordinated NHTSA and Environmental Protection Agency rules governing fuel economy, part of his drive to eliminate regulations.

NHTSA acting administrator Heidi King said in an interview Tuesday at the Detroit auto show that the proposed rule would be released on March 30, but declined to discuss its contents. Under a process set during the Obama administration, the proposal was slated to cover model years 2022 through 2025.

NHTSA has said current CAFE standards for model year 2021 may also change.

"It will be a proposal that will stimulate dialogue, robust listening to the data and the stakeholders that should inform a decision before we go to a final rule stage," King said.

Automakers lobbied Trump and other administration officials to take a second look at the standards, which carmakers say need adjustments in light of surging light-truck sales, low gasoline prices and tepid demand for plug-in vehicles.

The so-called national program of vehicle efficiency regulations was enacted to slash fuel consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of Obama’s climate-change policy agenda. The regulation included a mid-term review to evaluate if the rules were appropriate. That review was to coincide with the NHTSA rulemaking, which King said Tuesday would be coordinated with EPA.

Automakers in 2011 agreed to a trio of coordinated rules overseen by the EPA, NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board that get more stringent each year, ending at a fleet average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s equivalent to about 36 miles per gallon in real-world driving.

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