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Trump Signs Off on Review of CAFE Standards

While most makers cheer, Nissan-Renault, Honda offer indifference to move.

by on Mar.15, 2017

President Donald Trump acceded to the wishes of U.S. automakers, agreeing to re-open the review of looming CAFE standards for 2025.

As a first step to rolling back federal fuel economy standards, which are set to reach 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025, the Trump administration has agreed to re-open the review of the standards laid out by the Obama administration in January.

The review was immediately hailed by the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, which includes the BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Car USA with Honda and Nissan-Renault being the notable exceptions.

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“We applaud the Administration’s decision to reinstate the data-driven review of the 2022-2025 standards. By restarting this review, analysis rather than politics will produce a final decision consistent with the process we all agreed to under ‘One National Program’ for GHG and fuel economy standards,” the Alliance said in statement.

Auto manufacturing is highly competitive, so seldom do the world’s automakers come together. But they did in February, when 18 automakers wrote President Trump, united in their support for re-instituting the review process.

(Feds may soon roll back fuel economy standards. Click Here for the story.)

The Alliance noted in its statement that Trump has agreed and “now we will get back to work with EPA, NHTSA, CARB and other stakeholders in carefully determining how we can improve mileage and reduce carbon emissions while preserving vehicle safety, auto jobs and affordable new cars and trucks.”

President Donald Trump, center, met with the CEOs of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.

Consumer Groups, however, have indicated they are prepared to fight any changes to the rules, which they say save individual consumers hundreds of dollars annually by forcing them to build more efficient cars and trucks.

Perhaps even more importantly are a few relevant points made by the holdouts: Honda and Nissan-Renault.

(Auto CEOs ask Trump for a CAFE break. Click Here for the details.)

“We have to keep an eye not only on the federal government but what’s going to happen to California,” Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said during a Geneva Motor Show media event.

But, even then, Ghosn and other industry leaders – including John Mendel, the top U.S. executive for Honda – say they might not revise their product plans.

For one thing, they would risk having the rules changed once again were Democrats to regain power in Washington. And they also have to deal with the fact that the U.S. would just become the exception, rather than the rule, in a world where most major markets are steadily tightening mileage and emissions rules.

(For more on the EPA’s mileage decision, Click Here.)

“No matter what happens in the U.S.,” said Ghosn, “we will not change any of our plans for electric vehicles and other, more efficient vehicles” because Nissan will have to develop that new technology anyway.

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