Trump administration decides no corporate penalty hikes for gas-guzzling cars

While the rest of the world revs up production of electric and hybrid cars, the Trump administration is going in reverse: According to a new draft regulation posted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), automakers that fail to meet the minimum fuel-efficiency standards will no longer have to pay penalties that have been updated for inflation. NHTSA postponed the penalty increase last July when companies complained it was too expensive. They got their way: This rollback cites the hike's "negative economic impact." But the fact is that the current fines haven’t kept up with inflation, so they offer automakers a cheap way to avoid adding new fuel-saving technologies that will reduce the pollution that causes climate change—ultimately a far more expensive alternative, for which we all pay the bill. The point of these penalties is to ensure companies make vehicles more fuel efficient, but this administration's leniency is unlikely to motivate them to do any better. The move comes just days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to scrap key 2022–2025 fuel-efficiency standards, calling them “not appropriate.”


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