Trump’s EPA chief hints that the fuel efficiency requirements are going to rise

Generally any changes in rules to do with cars subsidies electric hand fuel efficiencies have only been to reduce requirements.

It is therefore interesting to see the current EPA chief Andrew Wheeler hinting that the trump administration is going to tighten the standards required to meet. Given this is only undoing a relaxation of these standards made by Trump, we can’t give him much credit- furthermore the confusion that he will have caused can the very best have confused the market and therefore will likely slow the improvement in standards.

He he is even suggesting that the standards the trump administration will push for will be even tighter than those under Obama. This is good news as it was always understood that under Obama his standards were only a first step and they would be tightened over time. Furthermore people want more efficient cars, fuel is expensive so if you can drive 20 more miles on a tank that is a positive. Also while the car companies complained, actually the original standards did not accelerate the move towards more efficient cars by a great deal as this has been happening naturally over time anyway.

Of course, trump has not cancelled the lawsuit that he has with California who has said that car companies within the state of California must continue to adhere to the terms of the Obama requirements. Obviously these two things do not line up, so whether this suit is simply to block adherence to the Obama law which trump does not like will become clear in time. 

Andrew Wheeler tried to suggest that the reason Obama’s rules were abandoned was because they were so hard to meet that the car companies would have to charge more for the cars sold. There was also a suggestion that in moving towards more efficient cars,  safety would be compromised and therefore this move could not happen. 

The first point is absurd, car companies know people wish to spend less on fuel and so the more efficient car sell better. Furthermore the additional spending would have been negligible given how large an amount most car companies spend on research. It is also worth noting that Tesla has demonstrated how it is possible to make affordable desirable electric cars, and much of the research this is being done in cars both in terms of battery electric and improving the range of of fossil fuel cars is merely to try to continue to compete with Tesla- the market is demanding more efficient cars so it doesn’t matter what the government says.

The second is simply wrong, the argument runs that by making efficient cars weight has to be stripped from all over the place and this in turn leads to a less safe car. This is rubbish, not least Tesla cars not only being some of the most efficient but are also some of the safest. 

One example is the Tesla Model S with a range now exceeding 400 miles on a charge and with an astounding success rate in terms of crash tests with some of the best scores ever recorded, Porsche taycan however has a battery 50% larger and the range of only just over 200 miles. The Porsche taycan is one of the safest cars tested but then so are all the teslas in their own categories.

It is great if if trump EPA is undoing some of the damage is done in the last 3 years, though whatever he leaves behind he will be remembered for his foolish moves while in office. Avoiding catastrophic global warming requires rapid cuts in CO2 emissions and whatever the outcome Trump’s term in office has slowed this move by 3 years already.

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