Although General Motors has been outspoken on the Trump administration’s proposed fuel economy regulation changes and a standards freeze, the automaker chose not to testify in any of the three hearings before the federal government.
The Detroit News reported Tuesday that both Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles and Ford both attended the second of three hearings to argue against the proposed fuel economy rollback. The two U.S. automakers said a plan to rollback and freeze standards at 2020 levels is not in automakers’ best interests. Instead, they proposed relaxing current regulations that are in effect from the Obama administration.
“FCA supports the policy choice in favor of ongoing fuel economy improvements in the fleet, but that policy needs to be based on market realities as they have evolved since 2012,” FCA’s vice president of global fuel economy Steve Bartoli said.
Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters, Bob Holycross, delivered a similar testimony. He said the federal government must create a stable framework that allows automakers to make capital-intensive decisions while grooming a demand for emerging technologies such as electric cars.
GM opted to provide written comments by an October 26 deadline.
The current regulations have corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) levels increasing through 2025 to 51.4 mpg. Automakers have argued that the Obama administration goal of 51.4 mpg is out of touch with today’s current market conditions and was envisioned during high fuel prices and an economic downturn that saw Americans purchase smaller cars. Now, they want to, in theory, keep the regulations, but seek a relaxed version of them.
The EPA proposed an option that would likely appeal to Ford and FCA’s testimonies. Of the proposals, one has fuel economy numbers rising more slowly between 2020 and 2026 by 0.5 percent, 1 percent or 2 percent each year. The EPA could also simply push regulations back until 2022 to give automakers more time to adjust to the environment.
GM has been in favor of revising the fuel economy rollback, though it agrees with the federal government that the U.S. should have one national fuel economy standard. The current EPA proposal does away with California’s waiver to set its own fuel economy and emissions standards.