With a Trump Administration looming, the EPA moved quickly after the election to propose finalizing future fuel economy rules last week. The auto industry doesn't like that (surprise), and has started making moves to stop the EPA. Ford CEO Mark Fields said he wanted to lobby Trump to lower the standards, and now the Auto Alliance, a manufacturer group, is saying it will join the fight against cleaner cars.

The Alliance represents 12 automakers: BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, VW, and Volvo. Gloria Bergquist, a spokesperson for the Alliance, told Automotive News that the "EPA's sudden and controversial move to propose auto regulations eight months early - even after Congress warned agencies about taking such steps while political appointees were packing their bags - calls out for congressional action to pause this rulemaking until a thoughtful policy review can occur."

The EPA was going to consider public comments through April 2017, but then said it would move the deadline to the end of December. That means that it can finalize the rules before President Obama leaves office. The director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America, Jack Gillis, said on a conference call with reporters last week when the EPA originally announced its decision that it is unlikely that President Trump will be able to roll back these changes. Gillis also said on the same call that any attempt by the automakers to prevent these changes would be history repeating itself. "These are the same companies that fought airbags, and now promoting the fact that every car has multiple airbags," he said. "These are the same companies that fought the crash-test program, and now are promoting the crash-test ratings published by the government. So, it's clear that they're misperceiving the needs of the American consumer."

There are more reasons the Allliance's pushback is flawed. Carol Lee Rawn, the transportation program director for Ceres, said on that call that the automotive industry is a global one, and many automakers are moving to global platforms to help them meet strict fuel economy rules around the world. This makes business sense, she said, because global platforms increase their economies of scale, and "it makes sense to have set standards and not have the US as the outlier." Or, as the policy counsel for energy and environment for Consumers Union, Shannon Baker-Branstetter, put it, "The lobbyists are always trying to get more flexibility while the engineers are trying to get it done."

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