Just days after the presidential election, an automaker lobbying group wrote Donald Trump asking him to change or delay an EPA decision that kept planned exhaust-emission standards through 2025.
Now executives of 18 automakers have sent a second letter, asking the same thing—and echoing a statement by Ford CEO Mark Fields that "up to 1 million jobs" were at risk from the standards.
As before, that estimate is based on a study whose assumptions are so extreme that they "don't make sense," according to one critique.
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In fact, in the words of a second analysis, the entire study was done with "an inherent bias toward the conclusion that the standards are overwhelmingly likely to be economically harmful."
The latest letter comes from both CEOs and top U.S. executives of Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, and other carmakers.
It was reported yesterday by the Reuters news service.
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The request, according to a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers quoted by Reuters, is for a "reset" of the process under which the EPA finalized rules on January 13 that kept target emission limits in place for vehicles sold in model years 2022 through 2025.
That process was originally envisioned to last through this year, with a final determination made in 2018.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article said the Alliance asked "to change, delay, or dispense with" the EPA decision. The Alliance notes that it does not support full elimination of EPA emission rules, but seeks "the right balance to continue fuel economy gains and carbon reduction without compromising consumer affordability and vital auto-sector jobs." Thus, it wants to return to the EPA's original mid-term review timetable that was to end in April 2018. We regret the error.
In the letter, the executives say the finalized rules could "threaten future production levels, putting hundreds of thousands and perhaps as many as a million jobs at risk."
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That statistic is apparently based on a study issued last September by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The center's analysis said that if complying with the EPA's emission rules for 2017-2025 cost carmakers $6,000 per vehicle, and if gasoline remains below $2.50 per gallon, then the Center projects that 1.1 million jobs could be lost—totaling those at carmakers, suppliers, dealers, and other related businesses.
The first of those assumptions came in for widespread criticism in critiques from entities not supported by the auto industry.
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One analysis last October said the study makes "a false argument based on assumptions that don’t make any sense, with an alarmist conclusion ... contrary to what our own research has found."
A second assessment by the International Council on Clean Transportation included far more direct criticisms of the CAR study, calling the CAR study's cost estimates so "grossly inflated" that they "skew the end results."
Those give the entire analysis "an inherent bias toward the conclusion that the standards are overwhelmingly likely to be economically harmful."
Because EPA rulemaking follows a prescribed procedure that includes lengthy technical analyses and public input, all of it based on science, changing its January decision will not be simple.
"The only legitimate question," a recently analysis by the Brookings Institute suggests, "is whether, by moving quickly, the EPA compromised the quality of its technical and economic analysis."
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