Trump Administration Presses Plan to Ease Fuel-Economy Standards

Christopher Davidson
July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump's administration 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 people familiar with the matter.

Since it was passed, every president has granted California additional waivers to pass its own regulations with one exception: in 2004, former President George W. Bush turned down a request from California to impose restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

The plan is also likely to set up a high-stakes battle over California's unique position to regulate emissions. State regulators also worked closely with the Obama Administration to craft federal fuel economy standards that span well into the future.

Proponents are expected to argue that the rollback will make it cheaper and easier to replace old cars, which will in turn reduce traffic fatalities, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the plan.

The EPA and Transportation Department did not immediately provide comments on Monday. California Air Resources Board head Mary Nichols declined to comment. Once the agencies formally unveil the proposal, the public will have a chance to weigh in, with those comments used to develop a final rule that could be implemented as soon as the end of the year.

Trump will seek to revoke California's authority to regulate automobile emissions, including its mandate for electric auto sales.

Mbappe, Modric, Messi, others jostle for FIFA Best Men’s Player award
Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah are two of ten nominees for the 2018 FIFA Best Men's Player award, also known as the Ballon d'Or. At the World Cup Ronaldo scored four goals but they came in just two matches as Portugal were knocked out in the last 16.

More than a dozen states and the District of Columbia have adopted California's tougher standards.

The policy proposal - which hasn't been officially announced - will likely cap federal fuel economy standards at the 2020 level of 35 miles per gallon average.

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".

"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.

Numerous other states now follow California's standards. Major automakers have repeatedly said they do not back freezing the requirements but have called for changes to take into account fuel prices and shifting consumer demand. The fight is nearly certain to go to court if the administration pursues it.

Detractors say the scheme is an infringement on states' rights and bad for Americans' health.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article