Trump Administration May Freeze Fuel Economy Standards at 2021 Levels

The move would negate the existing plan to raise gas mileage requirements up through 2025.

Chris Kleponis/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The feds may be about to trump the existing gas mileage rules. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation declared it might freeze planned future fuel economy standards at 2021 model year levels, negating the intended increases in efficiency hammered out under the Obama administration, according to a Reuters report.

The announcement comes several months after the Trump administration announced it intends to conduct a review of the current EPA regulations that govern corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards. 

In the statement, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it is working up a new environmental impact statement containing several options, according to Reuters, one of which would hold the line at the 2021 level. Under the current standards, the corporate average fuel economy for automakers for the 2021 model year sit at roughly 41 miles per gallon, rising to an overall CAFE level of 54.5 mpg by 2025. (CAFE levels are more optimistic than the EPA fuel economy numbers seen on window stickers, because the former figures are based on testing methods set in the 1970s.) 

Shortly before Trump's inauguration, theEPA attempted to cement the 2025 CAFE standards recommended under the previous administration into place, but Trump's administration reopened the matter after a group of automotive CEOs wrote a letter to the president begging him to walk back those planned rules. Meeting the Obama-era rules would have cost automakers around $200 billion over more than a decade, according to a government estimate, but would save American drivers about $1.7 trillion in fuel overall.  

The federal government has until April 2018 to make a final determination on the CAFE rules for the 2022–2025 model years.