The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might have a rocky road ahead under the Trump administration. The administration has proposed to cut 99 percent of vehicle fuel economy and emissions testing, virtually eliminating the need for that department.
Vehicle testing is one of over 50 programs the current US government plans to eliminate. Should the proposal come to fruition, 168 of the 308 full-time jobs at the EPA will be cut. It represents a 31 percent budget cut for the agency.
While official testing by EPA is cast in doubt, the Trump administration has offered a proposal to maintain the checks and balances of efficiency and emissions testing. They aim to seek charging the automotive industry pay for these tests. At the moment, there is no clear plan how to go about this proposal.
In an interview with Reuters, former EPA official Janet McCabe expressed her concern over the administration's plans. “Companies that take care to comply with the rules can be at a disadvantage without strong enforcement of the rules. We know that a little bit of cheating can mean a lot of air pollution,” said McCabe. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers also made a statement regarding the matter. Spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said this move may hamper the certifications of cars to be sold in the country, as well as bringing in products as soon as possible.
In the past years, EPA has been catching out manufacturers who have been overstating their respective fuel economy claims. In more recent events, the agency ramped up their efforts in scrutinizing vehicle emissions following Volkswagen's 'Dieselgate'. As of now, the agency is investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Mercedes-Benz AG for allegedly using defeat devices in their diesel-powered cars which were sold in the US.