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Trump’s Orders For Fuel Economy Standards Review Seen As A Big Win For Automakers

Trump’s Orders For Fuel Economy Standards Review Seen As A Big Win For Automakers
Handing a victory to auto industry executives and provoking criticism from Democrats and environmental groups, U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered a review of tough U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards put in place by the Obama administration.
Trump promised he would encourage growth in the U.S. auto sector and told an audience of cheering union workers, he would "ensure that any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories," in a move widely seen as a preamble to loosening fuel standards.
"The assault on the American auto industry is over," Trump said, standing in front of a banner that read "Buy American-Hire American."
White House is "setting up a task force in every federal agency to identify and remove any regulation that undermines American auto production," Trump added.
Trump's efforts to lock down support in industrial states such as Michigan that put him in the White House was underscored by The backdrop and message. Having won fame for building an operational B-24 heavy bomber every 59 minutes during World War Two, Trump spoke at the site of the former Willow Run bomber factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Echoing a theme that dominated his election campaign, Trump made clear he expected automakers to hire more Americans in return at a roundtable with industry leaders Trump.
"We're going to do some wonderful work with you, but you're going to have to help us with jobs," he said.
Workers from Detroit's "Big Three" automakers: General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) and automotive executives, United Auto Workers union President Dennis Williams - who sat next to Trump were among the 1000 or so people who attended Trump's event. Examples of vehicles they build in the United States for the president to see were lined up by the automakers.
Tey are hopeful the Trump administration will pursue tax and regulatory policies that would benefit U.S. manufacturers, auto industry executives have said.
One of the top items on the industry's agenda is eopening the fuel efficiency rules put in place by Democratic President Barack Obama days before he left office. The Obama rules were too expensive and could cost American jobs, automakers have said through their lobbying groups.
"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people," said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Trump said he did not want an "extra thimbleful of fuel" to get in the way of growth when one participant in Wednesday's meetings mentioned environmental concerns.
The government needs to get out of the way of the auto industry building vehicles, Trump said in a meeting with top auto executives from U.S. and foreign automakers.
Automakers are wary of being seen as unwilling to invest in new technology or as out of touch with environmental concerns. For example, to highlight previously announced commitments to develop electric vehicles, Ford used its Twitter account on Wednesday.
A starting gun for intense lobbying efforts over how government policy will drive technology investment decisions in the auto sector was effectively what Wednesday's event and it could take a year for the review process to play out.
Trump's move could hurt consumers, said critics like Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.
"Filling up their cars and trucks is the energy bill Americans pay most often, but President Trump's roll-back of fuel economy emissions standards means families will end up paying more at the pump," Markey added.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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