MILEAGE STANDARDS Obama-era standards continue – for now

Associated Press


For all the drama surrounding the Trump administration’s attempt to undo Obama-era fuel economy requirements, automakers are likely to stick to them until they get some answers.

The administration on Thursday unveiled plans to freeze the requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, after which they will be revisited. That means the fleet of new vehicles would have to average about 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving from 2020 through the next six years. The previous fuel standards under President Barack Obama required about 37 mpg by 2025.

But much remains in flux. The Trump administration likely will challenge California’s ability to set its own stricter standards that now match the ones under Obama, and depending on who wins, the U.S. could wind up with two gas mileage standards. It could take years for courts to settle the dispute, or both sides could negotiate one standard. There’s also the looming 2020 presidential election, which could upend the requirements again if a Democrat takes over.

In the meantime, automakers aren’t sure what requirements they will have to meet in 2021, so most are proceeding as if the Obama-era requirements won’t change. They’re continuing to develop more efficient vehicles including electrics and hybrids.

Thirteen states now follow California’s requirements. The Trump administration could freeze standards for the rest of the nation while the court fight rages.

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