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New U.S. Fuel Economy Rules Due in December

The Trump administration confirms that it intends by year-end to present its final plan to adjust national fuel economy standards.

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The Trump administration intends by year-end to present its final plan to adjust national fuel economy standards.

Andrew Wheeler, who heads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tells reporters in Detroit that the proposal will differ slightly from the original scheme unveiled 14 months ago.

EPA, working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, originally planned to simply freeze fuel economy standards next year through 2026. The move would cancel the sharply tougher targets currently scheduled to occur during that period.

Carmakers have said they don’t object to tougher fuel economy targets. But they want regulations to recognize the swing in market preference from sedans to less efficient SUV/crossover vehicles. Manufacturers also want more time to improve—and credit for aerodynamic and other improvements that save fuel.

California and a dozen other states have vowed to maintain the original schedule, citing the need to address climate change. The Trump administration, pointing to NHTSA’s exclusive power to set fuel economy rules, says it will block the states from doing so.

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