General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and many others in the automotive industry support the Trump administration in a lawsuit over whether California is entitled to set its own greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards.
The three, plus a trade association called the Association of Global Automakers, said Monday, Oct. 28, they plan to take action in a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Defense Fund against the administration, which is planning to roll back national pollution and gas mileage standards enacted under the Obama administration.
In the past, the majority of the industry took the view that it needed one standard, and wanted to have the differences between California and the Trump administration worked out among themselves. Negotiations were unsuccessful, and President Donald Trump announced in September that his administration would try to revoke California’s legislative authority to set more stringent standards than those imposed by federal regulators.
The automakers decided to intervene in the lawsuit over the issue of California’s right to set standards. By intervening, the automakers changed their stance to side with the Trump administration against the state. The Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation group of manufacturers also includes Nissan Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu, Maserati, McLaren, Aston-Martin, and Ferrari.
“The certainty of one national program, with reasonable, achievable standards, is the surest way to reduce emissions in the timeliest manner,” said John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers and spokesman for the coalition. “With our industry facing the possibility of multiple, overlapping and inconsistent standards that drive up costs and penalize consumers, we had an obligation to intervene.”
The fleet of new vehicles would have to average 30 mpg in real-world driving by 2021 under the Obama administration standards, increasing to 36 mpg in 2025. The average is actually 26 mpg.
The Trump administration states that freezing fuel economy standards will reduce the average sticker price of new vehicles by about $2,700 by 2025. The administration said that by making newer, safer cars more affordable, the freeze would make roads safer.
The authority of California to set its own tough emission standards reverses to a waiver of the 1970 Clean Air Act issued by Congress. When Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor in 2007, the administration of President George W. Bush rejected California’s offer to impose greenhouse gas restrictions on cars and trucks for the first time in the country. But the state asked the EPA to reconsider its decision and the federal authorities granted California’s request in 2009—when Democratic President Barack Obama took office.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press