Trump Rejects Automakers, Scrapping Fuel Standards Anyway

Trump Rejects Automakers, Scrapping Fuel Standards Anyway June 10, 2019

Trump is going ahead with his plan to roll back the vehicle mileage standards set under the Obama administration despite every major automaker in the world sending him a letter asking him to keep the new standards in place so they didn’t have the problem of trying to meet totally different standards in different countries and different states.

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A last-minute push by automakers appears unlikely to sway the Trump administration from abandoning President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy to improve mileage standards for cars and light trucks, two government officials said Friday.

The administration’s plan to freeze federal fuel-efficiency requirements for six years and end California’s authority to set its own standards has injected uncertainty into the auto market and raised the prospect of a drawn-out legal fight between federal officials and the nation’s biggest state.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department are poised to finalize a proposal this summer that would set federal car standards at roughly 37 miles per gallon, rather than raising them to nearly 51 miles per gallon for 2025 models. The rule would also revoke California’s existing waiver to set its own rules under the Clean Air Act, a practice the federal government has sanctioned for decades.

The courts have already ruled that greenhouse gasses are a pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act, which explicitly allows states to establish their own regulations that are more strict than the federal government on their production and release. California is sticking with the new standards and 12 other states have agreed to adopt the California standard as well, which means the car companies would have a bifurcated market, some where their vehicles have to have an average fuel economy of 51 mpg and and others only 37 mpg. Bush 43 tried to prevent California from setting a stricter standard back in 2008 as well and that was challenged in court, but Obama was shortly elected and reversed that decision, giving them the waiver that the Clean Air Act allows. That mooted the legal challenges and they were dropped before there was a full ruling. What the courts would do with it now is an open question without a clear answer.

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