Trump Administration Freezes Fuel Efficiency Penalties
July 15, 2019—The Trump administration said late on Friday it was issuing final rules to suspend a 2016 Obama administration regulation that more than doubled penalties for automakers failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements, reported Reuters.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement on Friday that it was faithfully following the intent of Congress to ensure the penalty rate was set at the level required by statute. It expected this final rule to significantly cut the future burden on industry and consumers by up to $1 billion a year.
Congress in 2015 ordered federal agencies to adjust a wide range of civil penalties to account for inflation and, in response, the NHTSA under President Barack Obama issued rules to eventually raise fines to $14 from $5.50 for every 0.1 mile per gallon of fuel that new cars and trucks consume in excess of the required standards,
The Obama-era rules called for a fleetwide fuel-efficiency average of 46.7 miles per gallon by 2026, compared with 37 mpg under the Trump administration’s preferred option.
Last month, 17 major automakers urged a compromise “midway” between the Obama-era standards that require annual decreases of about 5 percent in emissions and the Trump administration’s proposal.