Testing for light-vehicle emissions and fuel economy could come to an end

The EPA has done wonders for keeping automakers in check and making sure they report fuel economy and emissions output accurately. In the past few years, the agency has cracked down on automakers like Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy and investigated the largest automotive scandal in history when Volkswagen was found to be cheating on emissions testing. But, don’t expect automakers to be held accountable for much longer if Trump gets his way. See, a recent budget document shows that the Trump administration plans to cut $48 million of federal funding for the EPA – a move that deprives the agency of 99-percent of its funding for testing and has some convinced that it will all but shut down the EPA’s emissions and fuel economy testing labs.

All told, the move will cut 168 of the 304 full-time jobs in the EPA’s testing division and could lead to delays in new vehicle testing and sales as the agency tries to keep up with nearly half of its workforce missing. The Trump Administration has a plan to keep some funding rolling to the EPA testing divisions, however, by increasing the fees that automakers and engine manufacturers pay for testing. While that sounds like a suitable compromise to some, that will undoubtedly delay the availability of new cars and engine technology, and could ultimately increase new car pricing as automakers will have no choice but to recoup the additional money spent by passing the expense on to consumers.

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The Bigger Picture

This recently proposed funding cut only involves emissions and fuel economy testing, but it’s just a small piece of Trump’s plan to practically kill the EPA. All in all, the Trump Administration has proposed plans that will cut as much as 31 percent of EPA funding overall and kill off more than 50 of the EPA’s programs. Of course, the official detailed budget hasn’t been released yet – that’s coming in May of this year – but if these early reports are any indication of what is to come, we could be up for a future of dirty air while the automakers will be free to advertise inaccurate standards yet again, because we all know they are trustworthy, right? After all, Volkswagen didn’t just shell out a small fortune for its scandal, and it’s not like we’ve ever been lied to about fuel economy ratings.

While this is a pretty big blow for the EPA and the climate change movement as a whole, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Trump is clearly a skeptic when it comes to climate change. All you really have to do is look at his twitter page to find that out. In November of 2012, he tweeted “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” And in October of 2015 he went so far as to say “Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warning” in a knee-jerk response to a major winter freeze coming in “weeks ahead of normal.” He’s also said on multiple occasions that global warming is a hoax, which is obviously a concrete reason to curb emissions testing, don’t you think?

Personally, I think Mr. Trump just hates cold weather, so why not do our part to warm up the planet enough to make Washington D.C. and New York tropical places covered in water, right? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: Automotive News

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