Automakers are concerned the cut could delay new vehicle certifications.
If President Donald Trump’s proposed budget gets a green light, it would pretty much wipe out vehicle emissions and fuel economy testing done by the Environmental Protection Agency. In budget documents recently posted online by the Washington Post, the Trump Administration is proposing a $48 million cut in federal funding for EPA vehicle and fuel testing certification. That equates to a 99 percent cut in the program’s funding.
To offset at least some of that, the proposal would require automakers and engine manufacturers to pay more for required testing. There is no official word on just how much those fees would be, but automakers are said to have concerns over certification delays and getting new vehicles to customers. According to Automotive News, EPA spokesman John Konkus said the EPA could “effectively serve the taxpayers and protect the environment.”
With this news comes plenty of talk about Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal and how such federal cuts could make future investigations of potential wrongdoing much more difficult. Last month, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to a range of felony charges including conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and using false statements to introduce merchandise into the United States. Volkswagen is already on the hook for a $4.3 billion settlement agreed upon by the manufacturer and the U.S. Department of Justice, not to mention the billions owed in civil fines. Sentencing for the latest verdict will be handed down April 21.
What’s interesting to note here is that the initial investigation leading to this whole scandal didn’t originate with the EPA, but with a small group of scientists at West Virginia University performing an independent study. That fact is certain to emerge in future debates over the proposed EPA cuts.
The Trump Administration’s budget proposal would ultimately slice the EPA’s total budget by 31 percent and cut over 50 programs.
Source: Automotive News