Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Trump Almost Ready To Repeal California’s Authority To Regulate Vehicle Emissions

Report: Trump admin has plan to end California’s emissions standards power Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards
| 26 July, 2018, 20:13

The other attack on California comes in the form of a proposed revocation of the state's mandate that automakers sell electric vehicles.

"These were issues that were resolved 9 years ago, and it's nearly like picking at a scab that healed long ago and reopening it, only to cause the automakers a lot of bleeding, " said Simon Mui, a senior scientist and clean vehicles specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The Trump administration is expected to propose revoking California's ability to set state vehicle emissions rules and mandate electric vehicles as early as later this week, a government official briefed on the matter said.

The most-populous USA state and 16 others plus the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on May 2 seeking to block the Trump administration's effort to unravel the Obama-era emissions targets.

Although the proposal will outline other options, the administration will put its weight behind the dramatic overhaul, including the revocation of California's cherished authority, the people said.

The EPA and Transportation Department did not immediately provide comments on Monday.

California has had the authority under the half-century-old Clean Air Act to set its own standards, with a special rule allowing the state to curb its chronic smog problem.

California and other states have already fired a warning shot.

In 2002, the state imposed on the automakers new standards for how much greenhouse gases their cars could produce, with the requirements growing tougher over time. NHTSA is planning to argue that a 1975 law that enacted the first federal fuel efficiency standards prohibits the state from regulating tailpipe emissions. Former President Barack Obama would grant this waiver five years later. So California's standards are now in sync with the federal government's.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses staff at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018.

There is a possibility that the state will be able to retain the Obama-era statute that would require all cars to run at 50 miles per gallon by 2025. "They're on legally shaky ground, here".

The state's ability to set its own rules has also let to regulations that many in the trucking industry have found onerous. California Air Resources Board head Mary Nichols declined to comment. State law now calls for slashing emissions another 40 percent by 2030.

Separately, the Golden State uses its waiver to require auto companies to sell a certain amount of electric vehicles in the state.

"We don't want to see two different standards for the country", Wheeler said.

When Trump came to office, the auto industry lobbied for a rollback in those fuel economy standards. But the prospect of an across-the-board freeze - and another protracted fight between California and the federal government - appears to have unnerved the industry.

"One of the reasons they've been somewhat quiet is because they're torn, " said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and KBB.com, speaking of the vehicle companies.

American drivers, he said, clearly prefer SUVs, which will make achieving the 50-mile-per-gallon fleet average hard. Under guidelines set up by the Obama Administration, those standards aimed to increase fuel economy averages to around 36 mpg for new cars in real-world driving conditions by 2025.

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