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Car makers ask Trump to revisit fuel efficiency rules

They don't want to be held to tougher environmental standards through 2025.
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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Car companies operating in the US are required to meet stringent fuel efficiency standards (a fleet average of 54.5MPG) through 2025, but they're hoping to loosen things now that President Trump is in town. Leaders from Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and VW have sent a letter to Trump asking him to rethink the Obama administration's choice to lock in efficiency guidelines for the next several years. The car makers want to revisit the midterm review for the 2025 commitment in hopes of loosening the demands. They claim that the tougher requirements raise costs, don't match public buying habits and will supposedly put "as many a million" jobs up in the air.

The Trump administration hasn't specifically responded to the letter, although Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt had said he would return to the Obama-era decision.

The automakers' argument doesn't entirely hold up. While the EPA did estimate that the US would fall short of efficiency goals due to a shift toward SUVs and trucks, the job claims are questionable. Why would making more fuel efficient vehicles necessarily cost jobs instead of pushing companies to do better? As it is, even a successful attempt to loosen guidelines may only have a limited effect. All of the brands mentioned here are pushing for greater mainstream adoption of electric vehicles within the next few years -- they may meet the Obama administration's expectations just by shifting more drivers away from gas power.

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