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US EPA to review emission standards

Commander in chief: US president Donald Trump has announced plans to reassess emissions standards set by the previous government while flanked by some of North America’s automotive executives.

Trump re-evaluates fuel economy and emissions rules set by Obama administration

16 Mar 2017

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s administration has announced it will review the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards set by the former government in a bid to cut costs to car-makers and maintain strong environmental measures.

Former president Barack Obama put in place rules to standardise the fuel economy of cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon (4.3 litres per 100km) by 2025, but now the Trump administration – spearheaded by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt – says it needs to re-evaluate the mandate.

The re-examination, which opens the door to lobbying from US car-makers, will determine whether the standards set are realistic and, according to a press release from the White House, “the Obama administration broke its promise to automakers and rushed the midterm evaluation to a premature conclusion earlier this year”.

During last year’s review of the CAFE standards, regulators said that, while the 54.5 mpg target is possible, it is ultimately unfeasible due to a market which strongly favours SUVs over passenger cars.

Mr Pruitt said the standards are “costly for automakers and the America people” and that “a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic” will be undertaken.

“This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment,” he said.

At the same time as the announcement, president Trump also declared his intention to bring back automotive manufacturing jobs in to the US, stating in a tweet – just minutes after tweeting at Snoop Dogg – that he “will be going to Detroit, Michigan (love), today for a big meeting on bringing back car production to State & US. Already happening.”

In a statement released by the White House, Mr Trump elaborated and said “we’re going to make the process much more simple for auto companies, and everyone else who wants to do business in the United States”.

Ford has already cancelled plans to open a plant in Mexico, instead adding 700 jobs to its Michigan site. Similarly, General Motors has announced plans to funnel $US1 billion to create over 1000 jobs and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest the same amount to update two factories and create 2000 new roles.

Accompanying president Trump at the announcement were executives including Ford CEO Mark Fields, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz.

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