Ann Arbor, Donald Trump, Protest, UAW — March 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Trump in Michigan: Review of fuel economy standards needed because that “extra thimble of fuel” is killing automakers (PHOTOS)


“There is no more beautiful sight than an American made car,” Pr*sident Trump said while he was in Michigan today, and that’s why he’s “going to fight to keep vehicle production in the United States.” “During my first week in office I brought automobile industry leaders to the White House,” Trump said. He went on to say that no president had brought them to the Oval Office before, but he did. This, of course, is rubbish. In fact, President Obama had leaders of all the major automakers at the White House in May of his first term to announce his plan to improve vehicle mileage standards which will save car owners thousands of dollars over the life of a car and reduce pollution dramatically.

Trump was in town today, largely to let the country know that he’s restoring a review of the emission standards put in place by the Obama administration that will raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to an average of 50.8 mpg by 2025 from 35.3 mpg now. Right before he left office, the Obama administration cancelled a review of these new standards:

The EPA said it decided no change is necessary for future emissions regulations because the automotive industry has demonstrated in recent years it is able to adapt to increasingly stricter regulations.

“My decision today rests on the technical record created by over eight years of research, hundreds of published reports including an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences, hundreds of stakeholder meetings, and multiple opportunities for the public and the industry to provide input,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

During a roundtable discussion with industry leaders today, United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams said he appreciated Trump being there but expressed his concern about environmental standards for the automobile industry. Trump responded, “We all agree with you 100%. 100%. We want you to make great cars but if it takes an extra thimble of fuel, we want you to do it.”

For Trump to suggest that nearly doubling the fuel economy of the average American vehicle is simply to save “an extra thimble of fuel” is, of course, absurd offensive. And it flies in the face of his contention that American automakers are the best in the world. Despite this contention, he seems to be also suggesting that American automakers aren’t savvy enough and smart enough to engineer cars that get good fuel economy and (b) that regulations involving “an extra thimble of fuel” are enough to kill their ability to be competitive. If we were simply arguing over “an extra thimble of fuel”, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

As I mentioned in a previous piece, Trump’s choice of Ypsilanti for his staged event was a deliberate “SCREW YOU” to the men and women who work at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor. It is this group that has worked hand in hand with the automakers and other stakeholders to establish challenging but attainable fuel economy standards. Trump’s dismissal of their important work is an undisguised insult to all of them.

During his visit, Trump also leaned heavily on the leaders of the auto companies to manufacture their vehicles in the United States. During this discussion Williams spoke up again, saying that he wanted to add to Trump’s maxim that plants be built in America. He said he also wants the workers to be UAW members. “We want the workers to rise too,” Williams said. Trump responded by nodding and smiling and saying, “some things never change.” He is completely correct, of course; the fight for a safe work place, decent wages, and adequate benefits is not some fad that will pass.

While he was in Ypsilanti today, Trump was greeted by hundreds and hundreds of protestors who braved sub-freezing temperatures to make their voices heard. Here are more photos from the protest along with a Facebook Live video, all by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog.

Protesters stand in front of the “Trump Unity Bridge” float

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, who also spoke at the protest, being interviewed by FOX 2 News’ Charlie Langton

Tad Wysor plays the guitar while event organizer and Washtenaw County Commissioner Michelle Deatrick holds the speaker

*Donald Trump is the biggest loser of the popular vote ever to become President of the United States.