The Trump administration plans to unveil major changes in automobile fuel economy and emissions standards as soon as this week. A draft of the proposal from this past May sheds light on the administration’s reasoning.
The Detroit News reported Saturday that eased fuel economy standards will lead to reduced “societal costs” of half a trillion dollars through 2029, but an increase of 500,000 barrels of oil daily. Societal costs include air pollution, traffic accidents, road congestion, noise and energy security threats.
The increased fuel consumption will come as fuel economy standards likely freeze in 2020 instead of climb through 2026. If the Trump administration does freeze standards at 2020 levels, new cars and light trucks will average 37 mpg. Under the Obama administration, the regulation was to increase fuel economy to 47 mpg by 2026.
Automakers have said they’re in favor of increased fuel economy standards yearly, but the changes must reflect marketplace realities.
Most of the savings included in the rollback will come from fewer expenditures on fuel-saving technology. However, opponents argue savings at the gas pump would outweigh the cost of new technologies baked into the price of a car. Currently, the U.S. enjoys relatively low fuel prices, but that could change in the coming years.
The rollback will also likely propose the revoking of California’s right to set its own standards, which a number of other U.S. states follow.