Ford, UAW voice opposition to Trump plan to freeze fuel economy standards

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DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. and the UAW were among the major automobile organizations to oppose a rollback of national fuel standards during a public hearing Tuesday with federal officials.

The car manufacturer and the trade union said that a proposed freeze on the fuel policy standards 2017-25 of the Obama administration could be detrimental to the US car industry and the environment.

"Let me be clear: we are not standing still," said Bob Holycross, Ford global director, Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters, at a joint hearing in Dearborn, Mich., Between NHTSA and the EPA. "Clean-car standards should increase year after year, with the addition of provisions that promote continued investment in technology that will further promote greenhouse gas savings."

Supporters of the safer affordable fuel efficient vehicle rule have argued that the current standards do not address the current car market of lower gas prices, shift to company cars and low acceptance of alternative vehicles.

Holycross and Jennifer Kelly, a research director at UAW, who fuel efficiency the future of the automotive industry & # 39; mentioned, were among the more than 150 people expected to speak at the hearing, which are expected to continue until at least 7 o'clock in the afternoon.

Stephen Bartoli, vice president of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – worldwide fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, expressed support for modernization, non-freezing, the standards – similar to comments from General Motors and other industry associations.

GM, which is not expected to speak at the hearing, is expected to submit written comments on the proposal before a deadline of 26 October.

GM CEO Mary Barra has expressed support for "modernizing" standards.

The EPA and NHTSA proposed last month to freeze the fuel efficiency standards of the Obama era at 2020 levels instead of a gradual increase by 2025 for a fleet average of about 47 mpg.

Automakers have activated the proposal by asking President Donald Trump to look again at the EPA's statement that the standards agreed between the federal government, the state of California and car manufacturers in 2011 remain viable.

Automakers have consistently supported one industry standard to assist in the common use of vehicles. They claim that there are higher costs to sell cars that are geared to two different markets.

Other speakers at the hearing included officials, local and national environmental groups, car suppliers and academic scientists.

The hearing is one of three planned by the EPA and NHTSA this week. The first took place on Monday in Fresno, California, and the third is on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.