Trump to propose blocking California’s clean vehicle standards


But if California and the 12 other states and the District of Columbia retain their own emission rules, auto makers would have to either market two different sets of cars or sell California-compliant cars nationwide.

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

Carmakers have said they do not support an emissions standards freeze and would prefer state and federal lawmakers work together, because they fear regulatory uncertainty as California and the feds duke it out in court.

Jeff Holmstead, a Washington-based lawyer and assistant EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration, said he has heard the White House will seek public comment on a range of proposals, floating the idea of revoking California's authority but not formally proposing it.

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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.

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. The plan could be finalized by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported.

A number of states and the District of Columbia joined with California in suing the Trump administration this spring as it announced it would reconsider the state's waiver.

"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. 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. Although California argues its rules are not fuel economy standards in word or practice, "they are very much related to fuel economy", Holmstead said. The fight is nearly certain to go to court if the administration pursues it. Although the state initially used that power to regulate smog-causing pollutants, it has become a key weapon in the state's fight against climate change.

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

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

"California's not just going to roll over", he said. 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. "It's nutty it's been allowed to develop". 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.

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