Trump Almost Ready To Repeal California’s Authority To Regulate Vehicle Emissions

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The proposal, expected to be released this week, amounts to a frontal assault on one of former President Barack Obama's signature regulatory programs to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The U.S. Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency are expected to unveil a proposed regulation that recommends freezing vehicle emissions requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, the official said on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been made public.

The Trump administration appears ready to make good on its threat to revoke the State of California's ability to set its own emissions and fuel economy rules as part of its efforts to ease the restrictions on vehicles in the U.S.

In May, California and a group of 16 other states challenged the Trump administration's decision to reopen strict USA vehicle emissions rules for review.

Additionally, the Trump administration will freeze federal fuel economy standards at the 2020 level, which will require vehicles to average about 35mpg. Yet the federal government, under Obama, already approved California's emission standards - and the underlying fuel standards - for auto model years 2017 through 2025.

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Wheeler also said the agency wanted a "50-state solution" to the nation's vehicle emissions standards, as the EPA opens the door to weakening Obama-era efficiency targets over the objections of California.

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.

California and like-minded states are girding for a legal battle with the Trump administration on whether those states have gone too far in controlling greenhouse gases from automobiles, a prospective case that legal scholars say - barring a last-minute settlement - is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond for comment.

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Eliminating California's electric vehicle mandate would hurt automakers like Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and General Motors Co (GM.N) that are investing billions in EVs.

"We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world", said Dan Sperling, a member of the state's Air Resources Board.

In May, California and a group of 16 other states challenged the Trump administration's decision to reopen strict USA vehicle emissions rules for review. Meanwhile, California has announced that the state plans to take legal action to fight the intrusion into their state politics.

"The big question: Who will the auto companies back?" 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.

President Trump is allegedly planning on going toe-to-toe with California over its emissions waiver and its EV sales mandate.

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