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President may come bearing good news for auto industry

Reporters getting a closer look at the Chevy Bolt concept.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
The Chevy Bolt, an electric car getting up to 238 miles on a single charge

Update, March 15, 2017:

Published reports indicate President Donald Trump will announce a re-opening of the mid-term review process for fuel economy regulations for 2022-2025, rather than an automatic relaxing of the fuel economy regulations that were established by the Obama administration during its completed mid-term review process.

Fiat Chrysler will bus some of its Michigan hourly workers to the Trump event in Willow Run today.  The workers will receive their regular pay. 


President Donald Trump is scheduled to appear at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti on Wednesday.  The center is a federally-designed testing site for autonomous cars.

While there, Trump could announce a new policy to relax fuel economy regulations on the auto industry. 

Automakers have asked to be let off the hook for fuel economy regulations that take effect between 2022 and 2025, and it appears the President plans to do just that. 

The regulations would require average real-world fuel economy of about 35 miles per gallon.  The strict standard is part of the Obama administration's efforts to address the growing threat of global warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity.

Automakers say the regulations would hurt sales by making cars too costly, which would result in fewer jobs in the industry. 

But relaxing the regulation may not give the industry the relief wants. California has a waiver from the federal government to set its own stricter standard. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have already adopted California's regulations, and three more are in the process of doing so.

The administration may try to revoke that waiver, and court battles over the issue are likely.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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