Obama is trying to make it difficult for Trump to regulate the auto industry.
Donald Trump has previously pledged to reduce regulations for US businesses which could affect the auto industry, but Detroit News reports that President Barack Obama is apparently "barreling ahead" with last-minute regulations before he leaves office in January to make it difficult for Trump to put his proposals into practice. Automakers thought they had found an ally with Trump's relaxed approach to auto regulations, perhaps with the exception of Ford which has clashed with Trump over plans build plants in Mexico.
While he has remained quiet about his views on the legislation recently, he has previously outlined plans to revoke fuel efficiency and emissions regulations to benefit the manufacturing industry. However, Obama wants to accelerate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plans to finalize gas mileage rules early. "Getting rid of these rules isn't something Trump can do with the stroke of a pen on Jan. 20," Jeff Davis, senior fellow for the independent Eno Center for Transportation think tank said. "A lot of these rules can be with us for a long time, even if the administration is actively opposed to them from Day One."
An automotive alliance representing the likes of Fiat Chrysler, Ford and GM among others has lobbied to have Trump roll back these proposed mileage regulations, but a petition submitted to the EPA "on the viability of the future gas mileage rules" was denied. While the EPA has denied any allegiance with Trump influencing the decision, John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, believes that the "EPA's hurried determination and lack of transparency only increases suspicions surrounding the agency's decision, undermining confidence in its objectivity and impartiality."
Obama is also working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize a framework for self-driving vehicle testing and rules for connected cars amid concerns that Trump is planning to roll-back safety protections currently in place. "There seems to be this anti-regulatory mentality to do away with as many regulations as possible, which would make robot cars even more of Wild, Wild West than it already is," said John Simpson, privacy project director at the Santa Monica, California-based Consumer Watchdog group.