A letter from the world’s top automakers is calling on the Trump administration to rethink its efforts to dismantle Obama-era pollution rules, a move they say would create “untenable” instability for their industry, according to The New York Times.
Automakers had initially asked the administration to limit certain, particularly strict, Obama-era pollution standards. But they are now opposed to the Trump administration’s plans to altogether abandon the standards, which would have seen fuel mileage standards for cars rise to 54.5 miles (87.7 kilometers) per gallon by 2025.
Trump’s plan, which is expected to be announced this summer, would attack California’s legal right to set its own standards, and effectively freeze the standards at 37 miles (59.5 kilometers) per gallon. A draft of the plan was released last year.
Automakers are concerned that the move will lead states such as California to sue the administration and continue to apply their own higher mileage standards, dividing the US market in half.
If the administration moves ahead with its plans, companies would have to sell cars that meet the higher standards in California, as well as 13 other states. Instead, automakers are hoping for a compromise between the administration and the higher mileage states which could lead to a nationwide standard lower than that of the Obama-era plan.
Another letter was sent on Thursday to California Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for a final outcome “midway” between the two plans.
“We strongly believe the best path to preserve good auto jobs and keep new vehicles affordable for more Americans is a final rule supported by all parties — including California,” the companies wrote in their letter to Trump.
The automakers acknowledged that they’d played a role in causing the problem they now face, in asking Trump to roll back the rules.
A total of 17 automakers signed the letter, including BMW, Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen, and Volvo. Two of the “Big Three” US automakers, Ford and General Motors, also signed the letter—while the third, Fiat Chrysler, did not.
The move effectively revokes the industry’s support for Trump’s plan. Officials have privately warned that the administration could retaliate against criticism from automakers, instituting tariffs on auto components that are often manufactured in Mexico or Canada.
According to Gloria Bergquist, a vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers:
“Our thinking is, the rule is still being finalized, there is still time to develop a final rule that is good for consumers, policymakers and automakers.”