Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards

  • Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards

Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards

The Trump White House is advancing a plan to freeze fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks, and to escalate its fight against California's power to set regulatory standards for the entire US auto market, according to reports from a variety of sources this week, including The Wall Street Journal and The Hill.

The Trump administration will seek to revoke California's authority to regulate automobile greenhouse gas emissions - including its mandate for electric auto sales - in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards, according to three people familiar with the plan.

This change might be targeting California's waiver, but it would also affect more than a dozen other states. But instead of pursuing a deal, the plan spearheaded by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will attempt to eliminate or override California's emissions authority and force the state to adopt less-stringent federal pollution standards.

The White House announcement awaits a final review by several agencies involved, including the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Office of Management and Budget.

If the Trump administration moves to revoke California's authority on regulating vehicle greenhouse gases, the administration would likely deploy two legal arguments, say Sivas and Holmstead.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the administration this week will propose stopping planned increases in fuel efficiency after 2020 and challenging California's unique ability to set its own auto air pollution standards.

If Trump's plan sticks, it could be his biggest regulatory rollback yet. In addition, other major auto markets such as China and Europe are pressing forward with tougher mandates of their own for cleaner cars.

"This move by President Trump will not only gut federal clean air standards, [but also] this unprecedented attack on state emissions standards will serve to muzzle state leadership on clean automobile standards", she said. "It's a dumb move for an administration that claims it wants peace, because this will lead to an emissions war: progressive states versus a reactionary federal government".

Wheeler also said the agency wanted a "50-state solution" to the nation's vehicle emissions standards, as the EPA opens the door to weakening Obama-era efficiency targets over the objections of California. "We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world", said Dan Sperling, a member of the state's Air Resources Board. "And it is clear this administration wants to undo this American success story while degrading air quality standards nationwide and costing American families more money at the fuel pump". Jerry Brown said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. Although other states cannot ask for waivers on their own, if California imposes stricter standards, other states can opt to also implement those same standards above and beyond what federal law requires.

Some conservatives have long chafed at the rare authority granted California and welcome the effort to revoke.