Gabbing on Gas: White House and California Still On Speaking Terms

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gabbing on gas white house and california still on speaking terms

Despite the growing animosity, both California and the Trump administration are still willing to discuss the country’s changing emission regulations. The state is currently heading a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming it “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in overturning the previous administration’s decision to maintain Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

While the proposals issued by the current administration will eventually see those targets rolled back, a final decision has not been made. The White House claims it wants to maintain an open dialogue with the Golden State, hoping to reach an agreeable solution, but the California Air Resources Board has argued it doesn’t seem to be acting on those assertions. Meanwhile, EPA head Scott Pruitt maintains that the state will not dictate federal fueling rules as automakers beg the government to do everything in its power to ensure a singular national mandate.

It’s an ugly situation, which makes news of a new round of meetings all the more surprising.

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the Office of Management and Budget, will meet separately with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the California Air Resources Board. According to Reuters, these interactions are scheduled to take place next Tuesday.

During the meetings, the automotive alliance will likely press for lowered targets while claiming a cohesive national standard is the most important outcome. While many manufacturers have come out publicly to support sticking with the existing environmental standards, business is still business. Having the flexibility to make cars less efficient for the American market in the coming years is something they’d all be pleased with. But they can’t do that if California and a handful of other states adhere to different standards.

What’s less clear is what the California Air Resources Board will ask for. While the group has shown a willingness to bend in the past, the most recent draft of the Transportation Department’s proposal recommends freezing fueling requirements at 2020 levels through 2026 and barring California from setting stricter standards than the federal government. It may pursue an all-or-nothing approach and hope it can fight to maintain its waiver to self regulate if it can’t negotiate a good deal.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 15, 2018

    What is the problem? Do not sell gas powered cars in CA and thats all. Sell only hybrids or electric versions. When I was shopping for Ford Fusion there were considerably more hybrids available at Ford dealerships than gas powered. it was difficult to find Fusion with gas engine - very limited choice.

    • See 2 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jun 16, 2018

      @ect It's a "standard" that would drastically alter or collapse the US car market. Either that or automakers would face fines in the billions. CARB states would win either way. The fines are relatively small, per violating vehicle, except they would be on higher profit vehicles. This isn't about clean air, CARB just wants the monumental cash grab. If CARB truly wanted cleaner air, they'd attack the dirty, gross polluting train, military, aircraft and oceanliner industries. Except CARB hasn't come forward with what that "standard" would be, since they cannot dictate mpg, only emissions.

  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jun 16, 2018

    Does anyone who supports Obama's CAFE standards realize that it was Obama's team who created the standards that are eliminating the most fuel efficient and affordable vehicles from our market? Under the old CAFE, the big three had to offer Escorts, Cavaliers, Horizons, and T1000s at low prices to offset the emissions and consumption of bigger, more profitable vehicles. Under the Obama footprint model, the bigger the vehicles you make, the lower the bar gets. Bye bye affordable and efficient new cars. I'm all for selling people what they want to buy. The old CAFE was wrong for making the automakers sell cars people weren't willing to pay for. The new CAFE is wrong for eliminating cars people were paying for by setting their consumption standards impossibly high. If anyone really thinks Marxists are better than markets, we should ship them to Venezuela instead of allowing them to bring Venezuela here.

  • FreedMike All 35 units, eh?
  • Kwik_Shift Good looking wagon.
  • Kwik_Shift I'm kind of excited to check one out. Local dealers are anticipating 3 months for the first one to come in.
  • Jkross22 We're all being a little unfair to GM. It could be worse. They could have partnered with Microsoft to deliver RT - that wonderful tablet OS that couldn't run any legacy MS products - and brought it to the car. Or Win 95 and Clippy.
  • JMII The change could help GM better collect data from its drivers and passengers, and it could also be used as a foundation if GM decides to charge for subscription services.Could? Like the sun *could* set in the west today?Things didn't so well when BMW tried to charge for this service. This will go VERY badly for GM. Can you imagine the customer service calls?Customer: hello I am trying to hook up my phone to my new car but it isn't workingGM: we offer Google services nowCustomer: ok I use Google all the time, but how do get the stuff on my phone to show on the screen?GM: its doesn't work that way, your phone is not involved at all, just enter all your personal information again into our system and we will manage it for youCustomer: ummm... my [insert name of competitive vehicle here] doesn't work that way.GM: but we've made it easier for youCustomer: seriously, you don't support Apple nor Android? Guess I shouldn't have bought this POS, I'll be sure to tell all my friends to never buy a GM product, have a nice day.GM: ...This ultra-mega-dumb even for GM. I assumed if anything moving forward technology wise more OEMs would stop developing their own systems as a cost savings measure and just let the phone OS handle everything. Seems data collection is more important. Well as long as TikTok isn't installed we are safe right?