NHTSA proposing to cancel “gas-guzzler” penalties for automakers

FILE PHOTO - Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Vastavam web: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said late on Tuesday it was proposing to cancel a planned hike in higher “gas-guzzler” penalties for automakers whose vehicles fail to meet minimum fuel-economy standards.NHTSA in July suspended a 2016 Obama administration regulation that more than doubled penalties. Automakers protested the hike, saying it could increase industry compliance costs by $1 billion annually.

NHTSA said in a proposed regulation released on Tuesday that it “tentatively concludes” that hiking the penalty would have a “negative economic impact.”A federal appeals court has set an April 12 hearing on the lawsuit. On Tuesday, two major auto trade associations intervened on behalf of the government in the suit.In March 2017, Republican President Donald Trump ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency standards for 2022-25 put in place by the Obama administration, saying they were too tough.

NHTSA said previously the increases would potentially result in an additional $30 million in annual civil penalties. Automakers say the increases would dramatically raise costs since they would also boost the value of fuel economy credits used to meet requirements.Some automakers including some luxury makers historically have opted to pay fines instead of meeting fuel efficiency requirements. Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE), which makes Mercedes-Benz vehicles, paid the most in fines in recent years.