California Won’t Buy Cars From Toyota, GM, Fiat Chrysler Due to Emissions Fight

California Governor Gavin Newsome took the fight over tailpipe standards, and California’s authority to set its own, to a whole new level by barring the purchase of new gas-powered vehicles for state government fleets from GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and other automakers that backed the Trump Administration.  This will apparently hit GM the hardest — California spent more than $27 million on passenger vehicles from GM-owned Chevrolet in 2018 — altogether the state spent nearly $75m on cars in 2018.

Why This Matters:  As we reported, the carmakers that Newsome is penalizing are the ones that were hoping that by taking the President’s side they would force the Administration and California to find a middle ground.  California worked for months to find a compromise, but the talks fell apart and the President is now attempting to strip California of its authority to set its own standard as well as lowering the federal standard.  Honda, Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen have sided with California and reached an agreement to continue to abide by the state’s requirements.  Hopefully, consumers will follow suit and reward these forward-looking companies.

Trump Administration’s Final Rule On Tailpipe Standards Rollback Expected Soon

The Trump Administration is reportedly going to set a new fuel efficiency standard soon — and they are expected to only modestly boost fuel efficiency versus the Obama rule or the California compromise proposal.  Several automakers are anticipating annual increases of about 1.5% versus the 5% the Obama rule would have required.

The Trump administration is also attempting to pressure the four companies that agreed to follow California’s rule – the Department of Justice issued subpoenas against them earlier this month, saying if they coordinated with California, they could be in violation of federal antitrust laws.

California’s Tough Standards 

California Executive Order N-19-19 set tough fuel economy goals for the state’s fleet of cars it owns – specifically requiring the state to reduce its petroleum consumption by 50 percent (from 2015 levels) by 2030 and reduced its GHG emissions by 40 percent (from 1990 levels).

Plus, thirteen states have adopted California’s emissions standards for cars sold to residents of their states, and 22 states have joined California’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency objecting to the president’s restrictions on California’s authority over tailpipe emissions in the state.

Up Next

Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Even As Air Pollution Drops, Communities of Color in the U.S. Still Breathe Dirtier Air

Although absolute disparities in terms of exposure to air pollution have fallen, relative disparities remain a new study published this week in Science showed. What they found, in the words of Emily Holden in The Guardian, was that “wealthy white Americans are still getting to breathe cleaner air than lower-income communities of color, despite significant nationwide reductions in pollution since the 1980s.”

Why This Matters: We see time and time again how intimately intertwined environmental justice is with racial justice. It is not enough that the absolute disparity of air pollution has fallen.

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EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

EPA IG Investigating Trump Team’s Clean Car Rule Replacement

The internal watchdog (Inspector General or IG) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they had opened an investigation into the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman reported in the New York Times last week.

Why This Matters: As Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the NYT, “this is really serious…It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.”

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Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Administration Lawsuit Over CA-Canada Cap and Trade

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the Trump administration against a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that creates a market for emissions credits between the state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec.

Why This Matters: The Trump administration challenged the program because it argued California had no authority to deal directly with the government of another nation — that its program usurps the federal government’s primacy in foreign affairs.

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