Major automakers urge Trump not to freeze fuel economy targets

WASHINGTON — Major automakers are telling the Trump administration they want to reach an agreement with California to avoid a legal battle over fuel efficiency standards, and they support continued increases in mileage standards through 2025.

“We support standards that increase year over year that also are consistent with marketplace realities,” Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing major automakers, will tell a U.S. House of Representatives panel on Tuesday, according to written testimony released on Monday.

The Trump administration is weighing how to revise fuel economy standards through at least the 2025 model year, and one option is to propose freezing the standards through 2026, effectively allowing automakers to delay investments in technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions from burning petroleum.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not formally submitted its joint proposal with the Environmental Protection Agency to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. Even so, last week, California and 16 other states sued to challenge the Trump administration’s decision to revise U.S. vehicle rules.

Auto industry executives have held meetings with the Trump administration for months and have urged the administration to try to reach a deal with California even as they support slowing the pace of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that the Obama administration rules outlined.

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