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Trump wants to pull plug on Obama-Era Fuel Standards

Trump wants to pull plug on Obama-Era Fuel Standards

In response, California politicians to impose tighter standards as Michigan’s leaders plan for new auto plants.

President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy targets that have been a foundation for promoting climate change alarmism policies that have hurt the American automotive industry.

Trump revealed his plans during a speech at an automotive testing center near Detroit after discussing the issue during a round-table meeting at the American Center for Mobility with auto company executives and workers.

“This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation,” Trump said at the meeting.

The EPA under Obama had promulgated a rule for cars and trucks requiring a fleet-wide average of 36 mpg in real-world driving by 2025.

Trump’s decision, while having no immediate effect, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to determine no later than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025 standards established are appropriate. If the EPA determines they are not appropriate, the agency will submit a new proposal next year.

I suspect that the new EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, will find there was quite a bit that was inappropriate about the jacked-up fuel economy rules, finalized in the waning days of Obama’s presidency.

Pruitt, who has pledged to roll back what he deems burdensome regulations, told CNBC that American automakers wanted to evaluate those standards. He said he believes the rule-making process was rushed.

…”I think that what has been broken in that process is, one, not a recognition of the great progress that’s been made with those standards, but two, those in Detroit, those that are manufacturing autos in this country, expressed to the EPA that they wanted to evaluate the impact of the previous standards. And that was largely And that was largely disregarded.”

Pruitt is not wrong when he says the process was rushed. Legal Insurrection readers will recall that shortly after Trump’s win, the EPA sped-up its rule-making process substantially.

The announcement has California politicos declaring war on the Trump Administration (yet, again).

State officials, pointing to California’s unique authority under the Clean Air Act, have made clear they will not waver from requiring passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from an average of 36 miles per gallon today.

…Under the Clean Air Act, the state can impose emissions standards stronger than those set by the federal government, and a dozen other states have embraced the California rules. About 40% of the vehicles sold in America are subject to the rules California sets. Automakers have said repeatedly that it is untenable to manufacture separate fleets of vehicles to meet different standards.

The state had refrained from charting its own course on mileage goals as part of a compromise with auto companies and the EPA early in the Obama administration. That agreement will start to unravel with Trump’s action. If, as environmental and auto lobbyists anticipate, the administration ultimately decides to weaken the rules, California will almost certainly move to invoke its authority under the waiver to keep higher standards.

“If Washington continues down this road, California will take the necessary actions to preserve current standards and protect the health of our people and the stability of our climate,” Gov. Jerry Brown wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

I suspect that President Trump and key members of his administration will not be moved by California’s excessive political drama as much as they are by Michigan’s potential for automotive production. This is doubly true after considering the 2016 electoral map.

“We want to have new plants built in Michigan, and new plants built in Ohio, and new plants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and so many other locations,” Trump said.

“We’re going to make thousands and thousands and thousands of additional cars. And we’re going to make them in the United States,” he said.

Trump promised to make the rest of America great again…I only hope he can make California American again. I’d settle for that.


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Connivin Caniff | March 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

So what? Californians can buy their cars out of state or on the internet and ship the cars in. Can’t the Feds, under the Constitution, insist on uniformity to promote interstate commerce, so California can’t object?

    Arminius in reply to Connivin Caniff. | March 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

    No, because the out-of-state car won’t pass the annual emissions inspection.

      Arminius in reply to Arminius. | March 20, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      I can’t believe a couple of geniuses gave me thumbs down. You’ve simply never dealt with the nazis at the California DMV or California Air Resources Board. Do you geniuses think that these people are so stupid they overlooked that gaping “loophole;” since cars that meet federal emissions standards can’t be sold in Kali, you can just go out of state and buy one? Like they didn’t think of that.

      Sure, you can go to one of the states that have adopted C.A.R.B standards and buy a car since they sell cars that are Kali certified. But what’s the point of that as you can buy the same car in Kali without the road trip. If you buy a new car out of state that meets EPA standards but not C.A.R.B. standards out of state or over the internet and have it shipped in, you can not register it or even legally drive it.

      Do you geniuses know the easiest way to buy a new federally certified car out of state and bring it back into Kali and register it? Spend two years of your life in the military and spend them out of state. Buy a new car. Register it out of state. Then when when your two year hitch is done you can drive it back to Kali and register it, no problem. It seems like a lot of trouble, though, if you just wanted to have a car you can’t buy n Kali.

      But if you do what Connivin Caniff suggests and simply have it shipped in (there are hefty fines for driving it in Kali if it can’t legally be registered in Kali, if by some miracle you could get temporary dealer plates) the only thing you can legally do with it is ship it back out and sell it at a loss since it depreciated, what, 25% or so as soon as it left the dealer’s lot.

      Maybe one of you two geniuses can tell me the logic of going out of state to buy and bring back a car that can’t be driven or registered in Kali.

Trump can ignore California and let them slip deeper and deeper in to the mire of Government over regulation. Meanwhile, everyone else can enjoy the benefits of a Government light touch economy.

Eventually even California will come around…eventually.


California has always had a special waiver from the EPA allowing them to impose higher emissions standards than the rest of the country on any cars sold in-state.

Paging Scott Pruitt, we’ve got a job for you…

And if I was an automaker I would have one car made to the non-California standard and one for the California standard. The cars made to the California standard would amortize the entire cost load of the research development, engineering and design, manufacturing, etc.: just on the cars sold in those states that require the standard.

    Ragspierre in reply to starride. | March 20, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Everything with an engine follows that route, from lawnmowers to chainsaws.

    There’s a model for sale in Kuhlifornia and another for the rest of the US.

“Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington”

These are the states that have adopted California’s C.A.R.B. standards. I don’t understand why, as now they’re held hostage by the Kali government and whatever tantrum it decides to throw over this. Kali is literally nuts. A couple of years ago C.A.R.B. adopted “air quality standards” based on “research” that showed a supposed health need. The scare quotes are because the “researcher” lied about having a PhD. He didn’t even have one.

An actual scholar looked into the matter and determined there would be no detectable health improvement. You can only get something so clean; it’s pointless trying to get the air cleaner. That didn’t matter to the C.A.R.B. Neither did the fact that they destroyed the trucking industry as trucking companies had just been forced to upgrade their fleets just a couple of years prior because of draconian C.A.R.B. standards and they couldn’t afford to upgrade their fleets again either by re-engining them or buying new vehicles.

Every time I go back to Kali it really does look more and more like a third world country. I guess that country is going to be Cuba, with everyone who isn’t a movie star using bailing wire and duct tape to hold their old clunkers together because you can’t use an EBT card to buy a $50k economy car.

The only people driving SUVs will be out of state vacationers towering over Californians driving around in little cars.

What would happen if a host of these regulations were eliminated and replaced with the flex fuel standard instead?

The Feds have been abusing the commerce clause for so long they probably don’t even remember what it was for. As a native Californian, I hope Trump schlongs the state government, fast and hard.

Automakers have said repeatedly that it is untenable to manufacture separate fleets of vehicles to meet different standards.

Not so. It’s annoying, but not remotely untenable. It’s not even difficult. Just annoying.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tom swift. | March 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm


    That’s just like Jeff Belzo’s Amazon saying they couldn’t collect state sales tax isn’t it?

    Then last month I find out they are collecting for 38 states already……

California politicians talk big…so put them into the position they have to follow through. Isolate California economically from federal benefits which have been the insurance they could go rogue. The rest of the country should not have to pay for their socialist agenda. Cali can then be free to launch satellites, build high speed trains, totally cement one party rule, go 100% renewable energy, ban oil drilling, give illegal immigrants things residents can’t get or afford. The state were to be laboratories….so give the Dem lab rats their chance!

How about getting corn out of my gas while you are at it?

“The announcement has California politicos declaring war on the Trump Administration (yet, again).”

To me it sounds like they are declaring war on California.

Let everyone in California drive a Fortwo and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

As a side note , the C.A.R.B regs areally ass backwards, they require limits on particulates per gallon, but make no difference for particles per mile. So a car that gets 30 miles a gallon can be rated less polluting than a car that gets 100 mpg.

Bring back the muscle cars.

“I only hope he can make California American again. I’d settle for that.”

Don’t ask for the impossible, Leslie.