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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.
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.
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.”
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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