July 27, 2017—The U.S. Transportation Department said it may revise auto fuel efficiency requirements starting with the 2021 model year, a year earlier than previously disclosed, and could adopt lower standards through 2025, according to Reuters.
In March, President Donald Trump ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards from model year 2022 through 2025 established under the Obama administration. U.S. regulators said in a notice published Tuesday they are preparing a new environmental impact statement and could decide to freeze 2021 standards through 2025, rather than raising them every year.
As Ratchet+Wrench reported in June 2016, CAFE Standards developed under the Obama administration meant changes were in store for automotive repair shops—now that could change. In particular, the Obama standards created a greater focus on electronics, which would require technicians to understand adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems as advanced driver-assisted systems became more commonplace.
On top of that, more stringent fuel efficiency standards meant smaller, turbocharged engines would more the norm and that transmissions would have more gears; plug-in and hybrid vehicles would increase dramatically; and training for gasoline direct injection would become necessary.
The Obama administration's rules, negotiated with automakers in 2011, were aimed at doubling average fleet-wide fuel efficiency to about 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The Obama administration said the rules would save motorists $1.7 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the vehicles but cost the auto industry about $200 billion over 13 years.
Under the 2011 deal, the 2022-2025 model year rules must be finalized by April 2018. Trump reopened a review of those rules after automakers said the Obama administration did not conduct a proper review to ensure the rules are feasible.