EPA, DOT Eliminating California's Clean Air Act Exemption

EPA, DOT Eliminating California's Clean Air Act Exemption

California was also one of the states to publicly distance themselves from Trump's decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement.

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.

California and 16 other states, plus the District of Columbia sued May 2 to block the Trump administration from pumping the brakes on emissions standards.

Additionally, the Trump administration will freeze federal fuel economy standards at the 2020 level, which will require vehicles to average about 35mpg. "To do so, we advocate maintaining the current standards that would raise the average fuel economy of the USA light-duty vehicle fleet to a projected 50.8 mpg by 2025 based on the current USA light-duty vehicle fleet mix".

In addition, the Trump administration plans to propose a rule that would revoke a waiver California was granted by the EPA under the Clean Air Act, which allowed California to set its own emissions rules and requirements for zero emission vehicles.

The proposed revamp would also put the brakes on federal rules to boost fuel efficiency into the next decade, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the proposals before they are public.

The Trump administration is planning to revoke California's ability to manage environmental regulations on a state level, according to a report from Bloomberg.

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

The EPA and Transportation Department did not immediately provide comments on Monday.

Automakers are ambivalent about the reform, citing regulatory uncertainty as a problem.

In addition, eliminating California's electric vehicle mandate might hurt automakers like Tesla Inc and General Motors, both companies are investing billions in battery-powered vehicles.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has sharply criticized efforts to roll back mileage standards, adding the state would file suit against any effort to revoke its waiver.

California is considered an environmentally conscious, "green" state, and the announcement is already being targeted by politicians. California Air Resources Board head Mary Nichols declined to comment.

"In California, transportation has been the only sector where emissions have been flat or even going up, so this is very important, " said Daniel Sperling, a member of the Air Resources Board and founding director of the University of California at Davis' Institute of Transportation Studies.

The Trump administration proposal will seek to reverse planned hikes in fuel efficiency standards adopted by the Obama administration. More than a dozen states follow California's standards, making for a significant part of the country's auto market.

"The big question: Who will the auto companies back?" Whether California can argue that economy standards and emissions are tied will determine the overall outcome of the case.

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