Car Industry

Trump administration plans final fuel economy regulations for next year

The proposal freezes regulations at 2020 levels, and that's not sat well with environmentalists.

Final regulations were likely for the end of this year, originally.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration will not unveil reworked and relaxed fuel economy regulations this year, as once thought. Instead, President Trump said this past Friday those will come next year, Reuters reported.

The president also told reporters he thinks any movement will absolutely end with California challenging the ruling. The Trump administration and California previously tried to reach a compromise deal, though talks ended with zero progress. Since then, the administration has moved to revoke the state's waiver process and will aim to create a single national fuel economy.

California has already levied legal challenges as it aims to protect its ability to set stricter emissions regulations and operate zero-emission vehicle requirements.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to tout the fact these fuel economy rollbacks will help make cars more affordable and create safer roads. Regulatory costs would decrease by more than $300 billion for automakers in the administration's favored option. However, the EPA has signaled final requirements won't exactly mirror the proposal made last year. Nevertheless, fuel economy requirements will be far less strict.

The average fuel efficiency figure would be 37 miles per gallon come 2026 in the proposal, while current Obama-era regulations have it increasing to 46.7 mpg by the same year. Oil consumption would also increase through 2030 with the proposed plan -- another area that's irked environmentalists pushing for greener cars.

The administration maintains this move will create safer roads by keeping vehicle prices lower. In turn, the proposal foresees more Americans buying newer, safer cars. Opponents with the EPA, according to the report, disagree. Instead, it could produce an uptick in vehicle travel and raise traffic deaths. 

Traffic deaths have remained in decline for years, though pedestrian fatalities continue to rise.

The fuel economy battle has drawn a line in the sand for automakers. General Motors, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have sided with the Trump administration and favor a single national fuel economy. Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen previously sided with California and agreed to voluntary regulations -- a move that landed each automaker in a federal antitrust investigation.

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