US Fuel Economy Standards Trends, Issues

By: | March 26th, 2017

Fuel Economy Standards

Fuel Economy Standards (Image Courtesy CityFix.com http://thecityfix.com/files/2014/03/people-walking-by-bus2.jpg)

Over the past several years, nations in the EU have begun adopting stricter US fuel economy standards and dropping EU standards.

According to Volkswagen, emissions standards in the US are stricter, but companies can negotiate with technical specialists who are thoroughly up to speed on the technologies. In Europe, Volkswagen ends up negotiating with politicians who are heavily influenced by lobbying groups from a range of EU countries. It’s a mess.

In addition, US regulators are considered to be longer term thinkers on matters related to fuel economy standards than their counterparts in the EU. In short, negotiations over standards are more structured and straightforward than in the EU, and this is the reason EU countries would like to “throw up” EU regulations and adopt US regulations.

Trump to Roll Back Fuel Economy Standards

No one knows what will happen to US Standards now that Donald Trump is in office. In 2011, then-President Barack Obama announced a doubling of fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025. Currently, the US has restrictions on the sale of high mpg cars like the VW Passat which gets 78.5 MPG per Imperial gallon and 65.2 per US gallon in the UK. This is likely due to a lobbying effort by oil and gas interests in the US.

Fuel Economy Standards & Jobs

According to General Motors retiree Frank Hammer and Sierra Club’s Andrew Lindhart, Obama’s higher fuel efficiency standards would promote job growth while helping to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that now contribute to global warming.

According to Trump, current US fuel economy standards are absurdly complex. Trump’s argument against this complexity is outlined in “Trump’s plan to roll back Obama’s fuel economy rules for cars, explained” by Brad Plumer of Vox.com.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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