Car Manufacturers Worried After Trump Administration Gave More Than Expected
The auto industry lobby backed candidate Trump in the hopes that he would allow for lax fuel efficiency standard. Now it fears Trump will make those standards so lax it will hurt their profit margins.
California has a higher environmental standard regardless of the federal guidelines, so some in the industry now fear a Trump rollback will split the country into two, costly to serve, markets. "The auto industry, embracing Mr. Trump’s promise of a more industry-friendly administration, has lobbied aggressively for a relaxation of the strict Obama-era rules," Hiroko Tabuchi and Neal E. Boudette report in The New York Times.
For their part, the administration insists the move to allow lower fuel efficiency makes sense and should provide automakers with an opportunity. This leaves the industry and its lobby in an awkward position. "On one hand, they are eager to stay in the good graces of a president who not only is intent on moving forward his deregulatory agenda, but who is also capable, if so inclined, of hurling insults at automakers on Twitter or pushing for damaging tariffs. At the same time, automakers are eager to find a way to work with California, which is intent on sticking with the Obama-era rules and has threatened to sue if the federal government gets in the way," Tabuchis and Boudette explain.
Industry observers point out that if even the automakers are not interested in pushing fuel efficiency standards so low, the intent must be entirely political.