Automakers urge Trump to rethink emission standards: 'With your leadership it can happen'

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Some of the world’s biggest automakers penned a letter to President Trump Thursday urging him to restart talks on car emission standards which they said threatened the companies’ stability and “could prove as untenable.”

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The letter, signed by 17 automakers, including BMW North America, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Subaru, urged Trump to restart negotiations on the rollback of the Obama-era mileage standards that would require cars to get 36 miles of real-world driving per gallon of gas by 2025. The goal was for Americans to fill up their gas tanks less frequently, sending fewer climate-changing emissions and pollutants into the air.

However, the Trump administration is halting the tougher standards at a 2020 requirement that cars achieve 30 miles per gallon of real-world driving. It also wants to cut California’s long-held ability to set its own standards that were granted under the Clean Air Act in 1970.

The Trump administration is expected to release its final version of the mileage rollbacks soon. The New York Times noted California and 13 other states will most likely sue the administration over the policy while “continuing to enforce their own stricter rules” which would split the country’s auto market in half.

The Los Angeles Times noted that if states had different fuel emissions standards, automakers would have to start producing vehicles for the different markets.

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The automakers suggested that the administration consider adopting a standard that’s halfway between its latest proposal and what California has called for. They also endorsed a standard that "achieves year-over-year improvements" in fuel economy and facilitates the use of "alternative powertrains," such as electric vehicles.

"We strongly believe the best path to preserve good auto jobs and keep new vehicles affordable for more Americans is a final rule supported by all parties — including California," the letter stated.

“We encourage both the federal government and California to resume discussions and to remain open to regulatory adjustments that provide the flexibility needed to meet future environmental goals and respond to consumer needs,” the letter stated.

The letter was delivered to the White House Thursday. Another similar letter was sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, which stated the automakers would prefer a rule that was “midway” between the Obama-era regulations and Trump’s proposed rollback.

Newsom in a statement argued that a rollback of the standards would be bad for the climate and the economy.

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“For our companies, a broadly supported final rule would provide regulatory certainty and enhance our ability to invest and innovate by avoiding an extended period of litigation and instability, which could prove as untenable as the current program,” the letter to Trump stated.

The automakers said they believed a deal could happen with Trump’s leadership and were willing to work with him. The letter was signed by two of America’s Big Three companies except for Fiat Chrysler.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.