Trump's EPA chief says he's addressing a rule that automakers oppose 'very soon'

EPA takes aim at CAFE standards: Scott Pruitt
EPA takes aim at CAFE standards: Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said Thursday he expects an announcement rolling back fuel economy rules "very soon."

Automakers have expressed concern about the rules set during the Obama administration, which would have pushed auto fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Some companies have said the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard would boost regulatory compliance costs.

Pruitt, who has pledged to roll back what he deems burdensome regulations, told CNBC that American automakers wanted to evaluate those standards. He said he believes the rule-making process was rushed.

"There's going to be an announcement on that very soon, and I think what's concerning to me and I think concerning to the president is how that process occurred," Pruitt said on "Squawk Box."

"I think that what has been broken in that process is, one, not a recognition of the great progress that's been made with those standards, but two, those in Detroit, those that are manufacturing autos in this country, expressed to the EPA that they wanted to evaluate the impact of the previous standards. And that was largely disregarded."

Backers of the Obama administration rules, which the EPA issued only a week before President Donald Trump took office, say automakers have overblown the potential costs of compliance. They also argue that consumers may be willing to pay for better fuel economy.

Trump has held several meetings with key executives since taking office, some of which have included the CEOs of Ford and General Motors.

— NBC News contributed to this report