California Prepares Counteroffensive in Great American Gas War, Asks Automakers For Ammo

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
california prepares counteroffensive in great american gas war asks automakers for

California is considering a formal, public counter-proposal to the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of the existing fuel economy requirements for passenger vehicles. Gearing up for the launch, the state has requested that automakers present detailed information on their future products and explain why they’re seeking relief from fueling mandates they previously agreed to adhere to.

“They’ve never submitted to us any information that would back up those claims in any detail to help us craft a solution,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, (CARB), said in a Thursday interview with Bloomberg.

“They’ve never asked for anything specific,’” she said. “They’ve just said, ‘It’s too expensive, too hard, can’t do it.'”

Nichols estimated that automakers will begin providing the requested information over the next few weeks. She also confessed that she was unsure if the state would end up moving forward with a counter-proposal to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s “SAFE Vehicle Rule.” But it seems likely, as one of it’s key tenants involves stripping California of its ability to self-regulate.

Officially, CARB is still in negotiations with the federal government as both parties work toward a national fuel economy standard. But neither party seems to be making any overt headway toward a solution the other would find agreeable. Rumors abound that neither side wants to budge and that negotiations have completely stalled, but few involved are prepared to elaborate.

Nichols previously said she’d be willing to negotiate, but hasn’t sounded particularly optimistic. “Unfortunately, by putting out these proposals, the administration has effectively precluded our ability to engage in a conversation with them,” the CARB chair said in August. “We can’t possibly, other than in a formal legal proceeding, suggest alternatives they might like.”

However, Nichols did admit she is still readying a legal defense in case everything goes to pot and California is left without recourse on Thursday. The state’s goal remains fixated on maintaining those Obama-era targets, which would increase corporate average fuel efficiency up to about 47 mpg by 2025. The Trump administration’s proposal recommends freezing those levels at 37 mpg in 2020. “It’s an important goal,” Nichols said. “It reminds of why we’re doing this in the first place.”

For now, federal regulators seem content to continue negotiating with California to seek a national standard that everyone can agree with. However, that change only occurred after automakers pleaded with the government not go to war with California over the fuel rules in August. Manufacturers know a legal battle with the Golden State would likely take years to complete, leaving the industry completely in the dark as they attempt to develop vehicles that could be affected by the final verdict.

California is already suing the EPA for advancing the proposal.

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  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Oct 06, 2018

    The automakers easily figured out that the people who are most vulnerable to marketing are also the same people who have the least regard for other people and the environment. Combine the two and we have the automakers profiting most from the the most excessive cars, suv's and trucks. These people then form a political constituency to continue wasting their money, in the name of freedom and their need to impress others. They depict electrified vehicles as unaffordable while handing $10,000 profit per pickup to the manufacturers and spending still more for fuel.

    • See 2 previous
    • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Oct 07, 2018

      @brandloyalty Marketing is about finding out what people want and then finding a way to profitably provide it to them. Marketing ISN'T trying to trick or fool people into buying things the government or environmentalists or other do-gooders say they should buy, but otherwise wouldn't want. High profits are built on strong preference and low costs. Big cars and trucks don't cost much more to design or build than small cars, but most people are willing to pay a lot extra to get the extra size and power they like, hence big cars equal big profits. If you think "big brother" should force everyone to buy a certain type of product "for their own good", then you are on your way to Communism - ask the good people of North Korea and Venezuela how that is working out.

  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Oct 06, 2018

    Duaney: You think anyone wants to move to the depressed, opioid-ravaged, small-population states, like KY or WV? stingray65: Automakers don't want to have to redo mileage standards in just 2 years, with federal administration changes.

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    • @golden2husky "this year I party vote across the line, even if the Democrat is a baby killer" I think this should tell ANYONE with a shred of common sense or civility what kind of "people" the lefties are. Disgusting soulless sheep who parrot what they are told to say, and think.

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.