With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump fast approaching, the Obama Administration has been “barreling ahead” with a number of planned auto industry regulation changes, according to recent reports.
The apparent thinking is that it’s harder to rescind something than it is to block it. This line of explanation is the one explored in recent comments made by Jeff Davis, a senior fellow for the independent Eno Center for Transportation think tank. In these comments, he stated that transportation officials in the administration are probably trying to “flood the zone,” so as to make changes unlikely once Trump takes office.
An example is the push that the US EPA is making to finalize gas mileage rules before Obama’s presidential term ends.
“Getting rid of these rules isn’t something Trump can do with the stroke of a pen on January 20,” Davis stated. “A lot of these rules can be with us for a long time, even if the administration is actively opposed to them from Day One.”
The Detroit News provides more: “Trump has been largely quiet on transportation since his election, focusing mostly on issues involving trade and job preservation. He has clashed with Ford Motor Company in particular over its plans to move small-car production to Mexico. Other pending issues that will be left for Trump to address include new rules for self-driving and connected cars.”
While this is true, many people — some major auto manufacturers included — seem to be assuming that automakers will be less troubled by fuel economy requirements under Trump. This remains to be seen, though, of course.
The Detroit News continues: “Trump has not weighed in publicly on the fight over gas mileage regulations or self-driving car rules. He has appointed former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to lead the transportation department in the next administration, and he has tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change skeptic, to run the EPA. … Chao made no reference to the pending auto regulations, focusing instead on the need to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects that have been stuck in the federal pipeline.”
As we get closer to the inauguration, speculation becomes less and less interesting. After all, we should have a pretty good idea of where things are going within only a few months’ time (or earlier) as far as auto industry regulation goes. But we will keep you posted as inauguration gets closer.
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