Automaker trade opposes effort to freeze U.S. fuel efficiency standards

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group representing many major automakers on Friday said it was intervening in a lawsuit that says the Trump administration did not go far enough in weakening — but not freezing — Obama administration standards to revise fuel economy standards.

In March, the Trump administration said it would require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026 — far weaker than the 5% increases in the discarded Obama era rules — but abandoned its August 2018 proposal to freeze requirements at 2020 levels through 2026.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in April asked a federal appeals court to order the administration to reconsider its plan, saying it should have further reduced or frozen the requirements.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents most major automakers, said Friday it opposed CEI’s legal challenge. Five automakers — including Ford Motor (NYSE:F) Co and Volkswagen AG (OTC:VWAGY) — that announced separate agreements with California on fuel economy standards in 2019 are not participating in the legal interevention.

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