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Pallone: Trump Administration is Undermining Fuel Efficiency Standards

Jul 11, 2017
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) blasted the Trump Administration today for suspending an increase in penalties for auto companies that violate fuel economy standards, as mandated by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015: 

“In the wake of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, it’s disappointing that President Trump has again moved to undermine energy efficiency and emissions standards for automobiles.

“The law is quite clear, the Budget Act of 2015 directed all federal agencies to inflation-adjust all civil penalties by July 1, 2016.  NHTSA already delayed the imposition of the new fees until the 2019 model years to allow the auto companies time to adjust their vehicle fleets to avoid paying penalties.  This attempt to revisit the CAFE penalty fees makes no sense.  Unless Congress repeals the mandate in the 2015 Budget Act, or the Trump Administration intends to violate the law, the higher fees must remain in place. 

“Vehicle manufacturers’ efforts would be better spent complying with the CAFE standards rather than seeking ways to be compensated for violating the law.  We would all benefit by having vehicles that are cleaner and more fuel efficient.”

The Energy and Commerce Committee has primary jurisdiction over automobile fuel economy and emissions standards. Today’s decision from the Trump Administration marks the second time since taking office that President Trump has undercut efficiency standards for vehicles: on March 16, 2017, the President ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reopen a mid-term review of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that would require the industry to deliver a fleet average of at least 54.5 mpg by 2025.