On June 6, a group of 17 automakers (not including Fiat Chrysler) sent a letter on June 6 to President Donald Trump arguing that the best path for preserving industry jobs and keeping new vehicles affordable is a single federal rule regulating vehicle mileage requirements and emissions.
The industry is begging the president to reconsider his plan to freeze the mileage rating at 37 mpg until 2026, well below the 2025 target of 47 mpg requirement set by President Barack Obama’s administration and agreed to by the automakers back in 2012.
It’s not because the 2025 target is out of reach. The Trump administration has proposed revoking California’s right under the Clean Air Act to set emissions and mileage requirements that are higher than the federal standard. California has made it abundantly clear that it has no intention either of giving up that right nor of lowering its requirements.
On May 1 of this year, California and 17 other states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the Trump administration’s proposed standards rollback. More than a third of all new cars sold in the United States every year are sold in those states.
If one standard is bad, two (or more) is positively awful. Saying regulation that “works best” for the industry, communities and consumers is “one national standard that is practical, achievable, and consistent,” the automakers told the president that a single regulation, “including California,” is the preferred path because it provides “regulatory certainty” and gives the industry a framework for investment and some insulation from further litigation and encouraged further discussion between the administration and California.
Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board (CARB), remarked in May that the state may consider an outright ban on internal combustion engines. That got everyone’s attention, even though it is unlikely ever to happen.
The Trump administration’s plan to lower mileage and emissions requirements has yet to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review, a necessary step before the final EPA regulation can be adopted.