Trump may push for post-Pruitt CAFE and emissions rollbacks

26 July, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • Report: Trump admin has plan to end California’s emissions standards power

The proposal - presuming it sees the light of day - will be the first shot in what is expected to be a long battle in the USA courts.

The Trump administration will propose a plan to freeze emissions standards at 2020 levels while undercutting California's legal waiver to set emissions standards that are stricter than those set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to three sources that Bloomberg spoke to.

The move is expected as early as Thursday and will propose revoking California's power to set state vehicle emissions rules and mandate the purchase of electric vehicles, a government official briefed on the matter said and was reported by Reuters. Instead, Trump's plan will cap federal fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level, meaning at least 35mpg fleet average rather than roughly 50mpg by 2025 as envisioned in the plan left behind by the previous administration. Yet the federal government, under Obama, already approved California's emission standards - and the underlying fuel standards - for auto model years 2017 through 2025. It will also seek to block the renewal of the so-called "California Waiver" granted by the EPA with the adoption of the 1975 Clean Air Act that allows California to adopt stricter vehicle emissions standards than those set by the federal government. The Bush administration sued, arguing that the move would require tightening fuel-economy standards, which were under federal control.

For now, the Trump administration's plan seems to be focused on passenger cars and would eliminate gradual increases in fuel-efficiency standards for vehicle model years 2022-2025.

A legal battle is sure to ensue, so expect to hear much more on the fuel economy front in the coming weeks and months.

On social media, some noted that Trump's attack on California's ability to regulate emissions on its own roads flies in the face of conservative arguments in favor of "states' rights"-often invoked in debates over states' ability to regulate abortion access and LGBTQ rights, as well as racial integration and slavery in the past". Jerry Brown did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

California is considered an environmentally conscious, "green" state, and the announcement is already being targeted by politicians.

"We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world", Dan Sperling, a member of California's Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg.

The administration also contends the new rule would reduce "societal costs" by about $500 billion over the life of the vehicles but the administration's overall forecast net benefits are unclear, once higher fuel consumption is taken into account. Agencies are expected to claim it will reduce traffic fatalities by making it cheaper for drivers to replace older, less-safe cars, while paring sticker prices for new vehicles even if motorists have to spend more for gasoline.

"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 auto companies.

The proposal is still under review, but the core elements aren't expected to change, the sources said.

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