The White House apparently blinks in a controversial litigation over fuel efficiency standards, leaving a number of major automakers who had supported the administration in an uncomfortable position. The Wall Street Journal reports today that by 2020 instead, a rule has been introduced that requires area-wide improvements of about 1
The move is the latest twist in a long and complicated stalemate, which basically began as soon as the Trump administration did so. The man himself promised on the campaign to relieve the environmental protection authority and reset the fuel efficiency standards for vehicles from the Obama era. The previous chain of events has led to a clash of automakers where Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW pass stricter regulations from California and General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan and Kia are the White House against the Rule.
The Past History …
In 2012 – in the middle of the Obama administration – the EPA passed a fuel economy standard that would gradually increase the average miles-per-gallon rating for most cars to 54 by 2025 , 5 MPG (about 40 MPG under real conditions). The agency completed this standard at the end of 2016.
When the Trump Administration began in January 2017, this rule, like so many other policies of the Obama administration, immediately had a target on its back. In April 2018, the EPO officially stated that the standard was too high and initiated the process to replace the rule with something weaker.
California, however, threw a wrench in these plans. Most states can not set their own fuel efficiency directive, but California is a special case. For several decades now, the smog-endangered state has been constantly renewed, allowing it to impose stricter standards than the federal government. The impact of this repeal extends far beyond the boundaries of the Golden State: the other 49 states may choose to adopt the more stringent California standards instead of the federal one, and at least 16 states have stated that they support the California emission standards rather than the federal rollback to support.
In July of this year, four major automakers – Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW – have reached an agreement with California. This voluntary framework aims to improve the average fuel efficiency of their entire fleet by 3.7% per year from model year 2022.
And then it got messy.
In September, all automakers confirmed that they had been contacted by the Department of Justice, which was taking preparatory steps in an antitrust investigation. The investigation aimed to determine whether the agreement contained a cartel that unfairly restricted competition, as the Wall Street Journal first reported.
Regardless of the antitrust investigation, in September the EPA and the Department of Transportation sent a letter (PDF) to Californian regulators "Termination."
"This framework agreement seems incompatible with federal law," the agencies said. "We urge you to act promptly to refrain from [the California Air Resource Board] the commitments of the four automakers, which may have legal implications as federal law restricts the California authorities."
California Governor Gavin Newsom immediately accused the government of harassing the state and said: "We remain undeterred California is facing up to the mobbers and will continue to fight for greater protection of clean cars that will protect our health and safety Protecting Children and Families. "
That quickly escalated …
Matters escalated from there. Days later, both the Judiciary Commissions of the House of Representatives and the Senate attempted to conduct the investigation. Californian Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination, said in her letter to the DOJ: "This chain of events raises serious questions about whether the federal laws will be used to force the four automakers to make their efforts It also raises questions as to whether the Justice Department machinery will be used for party political purposes or at the instigation of interest groups that oppose even modest efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. " In response, the Trump government revoked the repeal, which allows California to set its own emissions standard. California has filed suit, as expected.
California was supported in its lawsuit (PDF) against the government of 22 other states, as well as several cities, on the grounds that the government's actions were declared unlawful and abrogated because they exceeded the authority of NHTSA, against the intent of the Congress offends and is arbitrary and moody.
The lawsuit against California gained allies this week as the other major automakers joined the dispute on the side of the government.