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Automakers And Regulators Differ Over Solutions To Emissions

Car Industry 2016

Traverse City, Michigan is the site of the 51st Annual Center for Automotive Research Seminar this week. Over 900 people are in attendance, learning about the newest technology in the industry. However, there has been more going on at the seminar this week than industry networking and discussion over the latest developments.

The issue of fuel economy and greenhouse gasses has taken the spotlight this week. Two groups representing automakers want the Environmental Protection Agency to scale back standards for 2025. The groups maintain that the standards are too stringent, and are not commensurate with technological developments and market demand. Regulatory agencies say that the industry can meet the current emissions standards, and contend that automakers could meet even higher standards in the future.

Chris Grundler, who helms the EPA’s office of Transportation and Air Quality noted that regulators should “be open to a new policy framework post 2025"; in order to decrease emissions from cars and light trucks. Industry lobbyists want regulators to factor in issues like ride-sharing and automated driving when discussing emissions reduction.

Some lobbyists favor a higher overall emissions target after 2025, but are also asking for more flexibility for companies to reach those standards. Mitch Bainwol, who is the head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers fears that stricter standards will raise the cost vehicles in the coming years.

Grundler counters that the industry has made great progress, and that he expects that trend to continue over the next ten years. Grundler stated: “To me, I think the standards and the policy is working spectacularly. Automakers are outperforming these standards while they are hitting new sales records. ... So we think the industry is very well-positioned to meet the customer expectations while reaching significant new levels of environmental performance.”

Grundler added there is an “urgent need” for the industry to reduce emissions to counter the effects of climate change.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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