Knowbody knew how difficult fuel economy could be.
Whether we like it or not, it appears the US has now entered a massive legal battle over fuel economy standards that we at CarBuzz have dubbed 'The MPG Wars.' This all began when the Trump administration announced rollbacks of Obama era fuel economy targets that required automakers to reach fleet MPG averages of 50 mpg by 2026. The rollback was meant to help automakers meet a more realistic goal of just 35 mpg, which would help companies avoid expensive R&D costs associated with hitting the 50 mpg target. Automotive News reports that the Trump Administration will now have to face legal hurdles to prove that these rollbacks will be beneficial.
The White House already faces opposition from state and local governments, environmental interest groups, and even the automakers themselves. It may seem surprising that automakers would oppose rollbacks that are designed to help cut their development costs, but most automakers have already invested towards creating more fuel-efficient technologies. Mazda, for example, is well underway with tests on its new SkyActiv-X engine that will power the next-generation Mazda 3. There will also be a further battle between California and the White House as the Trump administration seeks to strip away the state's power to set its own emissions and efficiency standards under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
Cara Horowitz, co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law, explained that the Trump administration "is going to have to justify to a court why it's changing its position because the rule was put in place after a robust administrative process and record. It's often harder to justify a changing of a position than the taking of a position because you have to overcome the presumption that the rule was right in the first place."
Basically, it was easier for Obama to prove that these changes were necessary than it will be for Trump to prove that in fact, they were not. One thing is for sure, these fuel economy rollbacks are far from being set in stone. Let the MPG wars begin.