This week, a group of 17 automakers sent a letter to President Trump asking him to give up on his administration's plan to lower the emissions standards of vehicles of the Obama era. But while the letter was framed as reprimand, a Warningit is clear that many of the world's largest automakers still want to lower their emissions standards at once when the planet is experiencing a flourishing environmental crisis caused by humans.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced for the first time these emission standards in 2009, which were put in place in 2012. As a rule, car manufacturers have decided to create their own fleet of vehicles producing average CO2 emissions of 163 grams per kilometer, equivalent to a fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Standards would increase each year, forcing automakers to make their cars cleaner in the process of road, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of millions of tonnes and reducing oil by more than a billion barrels.
When taking office in 2017, one of Trump's top priorities was to reverse this rule. Car manufacturers have expressed their support, some even before taking office. In April 2018, Scott Pruitt, then director of the EPA started the process of rewriting the rule, stating that the standards were not "appropriate" and argued that his predecessors at the agency "cut the process (of revision) with a politically charged opportunity, formulated assumptions about standards not in line with reality and set them too high. "Pruitt's EPA has launched a new regulatory process, though initial arguments based on old and misleading data.
In August 2018, the administration unveiled its plan. The EPA and the National Highway Safety Authority set a rule that would freeze the growing safety standards at the 2020 level of 37 miles per gallon, with no improvement thereafter. He argued that More dirty cars would be saferbecause they would be more affordable and would not deter customers from attaching themselves to older, more dangerous vehicles.
In the letter sent this week, automakers say they want something halfway between the current rules of Obama and the dismantling proposed by Trump. General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru have all signed the letter. Fiat Chrysler has not signed, although it is one of the two automakers to testify at EPA hearings on rule change.
That's not a rebuke or a sign from automakers to stand up to Trump, according to Dave Cooke, senior vehicle analyst for the Union of Concern Scientists. "It's the same thing they've been saying for two years, but it's a mistake of meaning, as if it were pushed against the administration," he says. "For me, this letter was totally innocuous." This is also unlikely to work.
Maintaining the standards in place would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by some 900 million metric tons, according to initial EPA estimates. The car manufacturers' "mid-size" plan would cost about half of these potential savings, says Cooke.
"Something in this range, it's a pretty significant blow, and that's just talking about the short-term impact," Cooke said. "If something like that is adopted, it puts us above all others beyond 2025, when we will have to take even more aggressive measures" to reduce emissions, he said, to the same speed as Europe and China.
The automakers argued in the letter that the Obama era standards were unattainable due to increased sales of SUVs (which tend to consume more fuel); a reduction in sedan salts (which makes for better mileage); gasoline price lower than expected; and slower than expected adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles. They also claim that they want "a practical, achievable and consistent national standard across the 50 states," to remind California of the ability to set its own regulations for emissions. California said it would continue to apply Obama 's era standards even though the Trump administration was restoring them, so automakers fear that this creates uncertainty in the market.
But Cooke says automakers are "slow rolling" technologies that could improve the efficiency of gasoline vehicles. "They just do not push the bar of the internal combustion engines at this point," he says. He also pointed out that California would not move away from stricter standards, which means that even if carmakers got their "midpoint", there would still be a split.
"We currently have a standard of 50 states.This is the standard that was finalized in 2012. It was approved by the previous administration and is the same as in California," he said. -he declares. "Builders strive to make it weaker, and that's how you get the fork in. All they did was weaken the standards."
Janet McCabe, who ran the Obama and EPA's Office of Air and Radiation and had been working on the initial redesign of emissions, said in an email to The edge That his concern is about what it means beyond the scope of the rule. "As this is the largest source of GHG emissions in the country, we should be talking about the post-2026 impending calendar of automotive construction," she said. written.