By on September 6, 2019

The Justice Department has opened an antitrust probe into four automakers that formed a pact with California to compromise on tailpipe emissions, effectively circumventing federal regulators, last July.

Over the summer, Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen Group announced a joint agreement with the California Air Resources Board to adhere to fueling standards slightly lower than Obama-era rules but still significantly higher than the Trump administration’s proposal from 2018. The Justice Department is seeking to determine whether or not that qualifies as a violation of federal competition laws.

While jointly adhering to a more-stringent standard over one that has yet to be finalized doesn’t really seem like it should be a problem, automakers cooperatively endorsing a new standard leaves room for interpretation. The companies could have said nothing and then simply maintained higher standards on their own. The Wall Street Journal reported on the investigation Friday morning, suggesting it was still in the early stages and was currently focusing on how we came to this juncture in the gas war.

Initially, automakers wanted the administration to lower the standards — with several auto executives heading to the White House to plead their case with President Trump almost immediately after his taking the office. This eventually resulted in the rollback proposal. However, California and a coalition of supportive states said they would only adhere to the Obama-era mandates — setting the stage for a split market in the U.S.

Hoping to avoid such an outcome, the industry began pleading with both sides for compromise. But the situation deteriorated quickly, with neither California nor federal regulators showcasing any desire to cooperate. By February of this year, White House officials terminated negotiations. Talks had been breaking down for months and it was presumed the administration would simply move ahead with its original rollback proposal and seek to end California’s ability to self-regulate — an issue the state previously said it would defend in court if need be. Congressional hearings also failed to move things along, but did highlight exactly how contentious the situation had become.

In early July, a letter manifested. Signed by 23 governors, the document urged the Trump administration to reconsider the proposed rollback. Led, unsurprisingly, by California Governor Gavin Newsom, the letter suggests a “common-sense approach” to national requirements with an emphasis on rising standards. Later that month, the four automakers openly endorsed the proposed compromise, saying they’d voluntarily back the Californian standard. While little more than a promise that could be easily broken later, it was enough to create a blip on the Justice Department’s radar.

We’ve been following the gas war since day one and it’s only grown uglier. While we can’t say how the anti-trust probe will progress, it’s not encouraging. Any prospect of compromise seems long gone at this point, with litigation being the probable pathway forward.

[Image: Nithid Memanee/Shutterstock]

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86 Comments on “Gas War: Antitrust Probe Opened Into Automakers Endorsing California Emissions Pact...”


  • avatar
    Fred

    This is just Trump vendetta against California.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You haven’t heard? Being “anti-California” is now a fundamental piece of “conservative” ideology these days.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        It’s not anti-California, its anti-insanity. High taxes, terrible government services (unless you are an illegal who doesn’t pay taxes), defecation in the streets, revivals of medieval plagues, onerous regulation on the productive, non-enforcement of regulation on the lawbreakers, but hey at least the weather is nice.

        • 0 avatar
          Pig_Iron

          @stingray65
          Have you been watching Timcast?
          ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Obviously, none of that stuff happens in other states. I stand corrected.

          (From time to time, so-called “conservatives” seem to have to latch on some piece of irrelevance from time to time. You know, like “I invented the internet,” “you have to pass the bill to see what’s in it,” “I’m Native American,” “global warming doesn’t exist because Al Gore flies on a private jet,” and on and on and on. One might wonder why. “California sucks” is just the latest. Personally, I think they’ve been doing it because they know “conservatism” has been a joke for a LONG time, now, and now that Trump’s provided the punchline, all bets are off. So you guys just keep bagging on California all you want. The good news, I suppose, is that it distracts you from the ongoing national embarrassment of the former Confederate States of America.)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            those people would probably burn their own houses down if Fox News managed to convince them doing so would “own the libs” somehow.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Oh, the irony of the Trump Administration. This is pure spite. The stupidity never ends. Look at the rollback of lighting efficiency standards. Incandescent lamps today actually cost more than LED lamps do, at least at my Home Depot. And they save money, energy, time ( no more relamping), and emissions. Yet the Orange Idiot reverses the standards to spite Obama. But all is not lost. The lighting industry has moved beyond incandescent and HID lighting because life cycle costs of LED lighting is vastly lower. Incandescents are not coming back.

            The standards did their job. By forcing the higher efficiency product, the cost of that product has tumbled to dirt cheap. Even as Trump looks back 100 years in the glow of Edison’s invention, the world will not be going back. This is a classic example of how good regulation can drive progress. A win for everybody.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Somewhere along the line, “pi**ing off liberals” became a central tenet of “conservatism.”

            I’d point my fingers at them exclusively, but lately, “pi**ing off the Trump supporters” has become a central tenet of “liberalism.”

            It seems the point of politics these days is just to p*ss everyone else off. And we wonder why nothing much gets done…

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel J

            Please. The liberals are just as bad
            Latch onto every mistep of Trump’s. Hell, they did the same to Bush. And pxxing off conservatives, especially from California, has been the drum beat since Trump got into office. And notice how I said California? They aren’t liberals anymore. They are farther left than the average liberal.

            I could vote for the average run of the mill liberal. Not the nonsense coming out of Cali.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Would not the “terrible service” be the same for everybody? I know illegals are horrid, robbing rapists that prey on the beloved white children of the world but they get better service? /s

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, just for the white folks. The illegals get White Glove Service everywhere they go. Yessirree. Sean Hannity says so.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Well the illegals do get free legal help provided by the state to keep them from being deported, in-state tuition rates and affirmative action support, and government forms and public education in Spanish so they don’t need to learn English. I’m sure there are plenty of other extras that many regular citizens and legal residents don’t qualify for.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            1) Defense attorneys have been paid for by the state for literally as long as I’ve been alive (1963).
            2) People living in any given state have gotten in state tuition for as long as I can remember.
            3) People have been speaking “foreign” languages in America from Day One. Spanish just happens to be the one most commonly spoken today. My grandfather conducted all his business in Yiddish, and no one called him “un-American” (least of all, the folks down at the American Legion Hall, which he frequented, as he was a veteran). And you can find plenty of domestic newspapers published in languages other than Spanish. This one took me about 40 seconds to find on Google: http://www.russian-bazaar.com/

      • 0 avatar
        Best_Ever

        Cant blame anybody. The way the Dems are running big cities into the ground. Homeless, disease. Its disgusting the way the Dem politicians want to whine about a President rather than take care of their people.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I live in a big city where the two political poles are establishment Dems and leftists. Somehow it hasn’t been “run into the ground.” In fact, the main problem is that we can’t agree to build housing fast enough to accommodate the massive population growth that’s happening because our job market is so good, so housing is too expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            A city where human feces is common on the sidewalks doesn’t sound exactly like a thriving city.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’d say the city has been run into the ground.

            https://mynorthwest.com/1500419/dori-seattle-realtor-rainier-avenue/

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            And it is thanks to the wonderful people in charge.

            https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/07/city-councilman-hosing-poop-covered-sidewalks-might-be-racially-insensitive/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I actually live in the city, commute through that part of it on a bike most days, and that article has nothing to do with any reality I ever see. I’m not surprised that there’s not enough information to identify the actual building.

            Dori has been relentlessly promoting a “Seattle is a sh!t-strewn hellhole” narrative for a couple of years now because it gets him attention in national conservative media. But he lives in the far suburbs and commutes to Eastlake by car. It’s a very open question whether he ever actually sees any of the rest of the city.

            I think I’ve seen feces in the open once in the past seven years, and that was in the encampment in the triangle of land bordered by freeway ramps next to 6th and Yesler.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I guess I shouldn’t have used that word, not that the writers haven’t used worse in the past.

            I’ve seen in it process more than once and I know for a fact that every day one of the facility people where I work on Capitol Hill is the first person on site to pick up the needles, bottles and occasionally feces.

            Yes they didn’t give too much info on that building as the Broker didn’t want to be named, understandably. However it took me about 2 min to find. It is not on Rainer, it is about a block off, between Rainer and 25th where they aren’t very far apart. It looks like they originally tried to sell it as Condos and they finally gave up on that. So they are trying unload it on an investor since they would not actually be living in or using the building.

            Yes Dori can get a bit sensational, however he is not some lone voice. You could fill pages with stories from dozens of sources of the problems created and perpetuated by the wonderful Seattle gov’t.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Purely political. A certain individual does not like having his decisions bypassed, despite the fact that said individual bypassed laws all the time.

    The EPA may be able to set certain minimum limits but those are minimums, NOT absolutes. If the automakers or individual states want to exceed those minimums, there is no LAW preventing them from doing so.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Political retaliation.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    On a positive note, shares in the company that makes Sharpies have been trending up lately.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    So “petty” and “vindictive” are virtues now.

    Great.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I remember back during the Bush 43 administration when the AG compromised his independence about something that didn’t directly affect any private citizens or companies (firing a bunch of AUSAs) and it was breathlessly covered as a scandal.

    Now the president is openly directing his AG to investigate and even prosecute companies that made him angry, and everyone’s shrugging their shoulders.

    The volume of corruption and scandal generated by this administration has overwhelmed our capacity to absorb it.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      because the most important job of the President of the United States is to “own the libs.”
      didn’t you get the memo?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It sure shows those libs to steal federal government money and use executive branch agencies as your personal mob!

      • 0 avatar
        Best_Ever

        Meanwhile, Dems are taking away all liberties and have done NOTHING but whine about a President. Its really disappointing and childish how they act.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          How do Dems take liberties away (or do anything else) when they have control of one house of Congress and nothing else?

          Now, granted, they should have impeached the president for corruption rather than whined about him, but that still would have been a symbolic gesture given the Senate.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Meanwhile, Dems are taking away all liberties”

          yeah, too bad the PATRIOT Act (one of the biggest infringements on liberty in recent history) was brought up by Republican legislators and signed by a Republican president.

          you people are so stupid you don’t even know what it is you’re angry at.

          “Its really disappointing and childish how they act.”

          except Mitch McConnell has been the biggest damn baby about everything ever since Obama won in 2008. You’re just blind to his temper tantrums because he’s on your team. You’re worthless.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Both sides know automakers will continue offering and selling what ever consumers want, in every state, regardless of where the chips fall, regardless of efficiency or lack thereof. Yeah alongside whatever token EVs/hybrids and continued gaming of the rules.

      The only difference is the Trump Admin wants to roll back the fines, CARB doesn’t.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Volkswagen? That’s rich.
    ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Volkswagen just spent billions in the US due to Dieselgate. Obviously they want to realize SOME earnings off of that expense, not garner a new expense because of its intent to make the most out of the last one. I expect we’ll see a big disappointment from the Oval Office once this next election season is concluded… and very possibly a lot of state senators and representatives as well.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    BMW, Ford, VW, and Honda are free to develop all the 50+mpg vehicles they want and sell them to the eager public in all 50 states for huge profits. They shouldn’t need California or any other state forcing them to do the right thing for only part of the country, and in doing it voluntarily they can show the rest of the industry how being green is financially very attractive just like Tesla has demonstrated.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Like taxes night? If liberals and the rich leftist want to give more taxes then let them. Oh, but we have to force everyone, especially the middle class, to pay.

      Everyone talks about how our free market fails, but everyone forgets that we truly don’t have a free market. Why not let consumers drive the EV market and MPG standards instead of California stepping in.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Good. California is run by extremists and you can tell by the state of their state, anything California endorses should be disregarded.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      CARB includes California and the other 13 states that follow it. They make up 40% of all new car sales and 50% of all revenue.

      The reason why this administration cares at all is because of the economic leverage that California is overriding Trumps doctrine..

      The state of California, regardless of how you feel about them politically, have the largest GDP in the Nation. 5th largest in the World, and larger than 2nd place (Texas) and 3rd place (Florida) combined!

      They are also the largest “Giver” state, meaning California puts more into the Federal government than they take. It has been like this for decades, even when they were in bankruptcy several years ago. Let me guess, you live in a taker state? Most red states are by the way.

      • 0 avatar

        @Sd 328I:

        Preach it, brother.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        What’s funny is that California is the only state that has an exception to the clean air act allowing them to set their own standards. Those 13 other states don’t, so they are technically violating the law

        California is 12th in GDP per capita, just a hair above Texas, and the gap keeps getting smaller. As the tech industry slowly starts moving to other states that will drop even further.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Yeah so?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “What’s funny is that California is the only state that has an exception to the clean air act allowing them to set their own standards. Those 13 other states don’t, so they are technically violating the law”

          oh look, another Internet Wannabe Legal Scholar.

          You could make the argument that the other 13 states aren’t setting their own standards, they’re just following ones which are allowed.

          At any rate, it’s clear that among the many things Trump (and his supporters) don’t understand is that this has nothing to do with anti-trust. But the Baby in Chief is pretty much determined to look for ways to use the law against people who give him the sads.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Where, in any law, does it say that states can’t demand higher controls on pollution and more mileage than Federal minimums? The Federal government’s EPA rules say, “no fewer miles than” or, “no more pollution than,” meaning that any state or county or city or town government can demand tighter limits exceeding federal guidance. There is no law that says otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            States have the ability to self regulate (emissions), but that ability can be taken away. That’s why CARB is threatening countermeasures, some fairly extreme.

            Regardless, if California loses this fight, it will maintain the ability to ban specific cars, as they’ve done in the past, and that could be their next move, or retaliation.

            Except all that fist pounding is just for show. Even under strict Obama rules, it’s voluntary. The offending automakers just have to pay, as we saw FCA fork over a laughable 77 million fine (fee) for 2018 CAFE non compliance, and there was a lot if it.

            As always, follow the corruption.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: “As always, follow the corruption.”

            — You’re right. And for the moment, it’s all up at the very top of the dog pile.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            This time the corruption is all at the bottom. The Trump Admin is walking away from the exorbitant collection in fines, mega billions annually, but California won’t let them vaporize without a fight.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Nope, DM, it’s all at the top. His ‘sponsors’ want people to burn more gas, not less. That’s why he’s trying so hard to reverse all the progress we’ve made over the last 20 years and ESPECIALLY the progress made during the previous administration.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: “The Trump Admin is walking away from the exorbitant collection in fines, mega billions annually,…”

            — In other words, he’s intentionally trying to bankrupt the country. Oh, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it, too.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Tin foil hat time? It couldn’t have anything to do with the Obama rules being unreasonable? Or otherwise extortion and profit sharing? Basically racketeering?

            Even though the Administration won’t directly accuse, their vision is crystal clear. CARB needs to be stopped.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: If you live in the state whose capital city is used in your username, then you shouldn’t be arguing with me, you should be arguing with your own legislators—who have adopted those CARB rules as their own and are already signatories on the lawsuit against the EPA and the Trump administration.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Colorado is corrupt too. I said it before, now get back to the point.

            It’s a (FREE) money grab, near zero investment, and since it’s legal (up to a point), why wouldn’t they, or any state join in??

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: You’re the one whose gone off-topic. It’s certainly NOT a “money grab” if the OEMs buy those credits from another OEM. The states don’t get a penny of that money UNLESS the OEMs choose to pay the fines over buying the credits and the credits are far cheaper than the fines, on average.

            So if there’s a “money grab”, it’s by those OEMs who have credits to sell, not the states.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Seriously, if CARB prevails, how long before the credits run out? Even if EV sales jump to 5% (of the market), “trucks” alone are and will continue to be more than half the market.

            And I thought you were good at Math.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Seriously, if CARB prevails, how long before the credits run out?”
            — You tell me. Tesla is a fountain of credits, simply due to the fact that they don’t build any ICEVs and their production volume continues to grow. Now we have Chevy with a “few” credits of their own but still buying more from Tesla and FCA has committed to a couple of $billions in credit purchases. So, how long will it take before the credits run out? Don’t forget, those CARB credits are ONLY valid in CARB-compliant states.

            “Even if EV sales jump to 5% (of the market),…”
            — Not much of a jump, since EVs already have near 3% of the market. I’d worry about when they get close to 50% of the market, INCLUDING at least three different pickup trucks.

            So really… who’s having the math problems?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            That’s purely speculative. We don’t know if it’ll take 20 years, 30, or if we’ll ever get to 50% saturation of EVs. Or anything close.

            In the mean time, you can bet on a constant flow of billions of dollars paid in fines annually by OEMs, including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc, if CARB gets its way.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As I’ve said to you before, DM; Believe what you will. Truth will out and you’ve been proven wrong far more times than you’ve been proven correct.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Either way, 50% EV adoption (in new car sales) isn’t going to happen any time soon. So what’s your estimation? Assuming CARB wins, how many years?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “Either way, 50% EV adoption (in new car sales) isn’t going to happen any time soon”

            In regions like the Northeast and the west coast, it’ll happen, but I’m not even going to try to speculate how long it will take. I’m actually kind of shocked at how quickly Tesla numbers are increasing in the Boston area. For example yesterday on the final 5-mile stretch home on a back road, there were 3 that passed me in the opposite direction. Plenty on I-95/128.

            Once a particular region starts hitting a certain percentage of EVs on the road, services for ICE cars starts to diminish. ICE drivers will start to be introduced to the concept of range anxiety when gas stations start digging up their gas storage tanks or delay taking deliveries when they run out. At least when you find a charger, it’s probably working. A gas pump that works one day, may or may not be active the next week, so it’s a scarier version of range anxiety. I think there will be a tipping point where adoption will accelerate when ICE ownership starts to get to be difficult.

            Another factor will be when we enter the solid-state battery era. Lighter, cheaper, and longer-range batteries will make it to to mass production at some point. There seems to be hundreds of material scientists attacking the problems and at some point, we’ll get a real product. When we get 600+ mile range cars cheaper than the ICE equivalent, numbers will start to increase. Volkswagen says that they are already at the $100/kWh mark, so they are getting cheaper already.

            ICEs will continue to get worse with more start/stop and fewer cylinders. CARB has a good chance of becoming 50 state in 2021, so they’ll continue their downward spiral in drivability. They’ll also become the ride of choice of the elderly and poor, so they’ll be further stigmatized.

            Better EVs are coming without the issues they have now. The EVs and infrastructure we have now won’t be the same as what we have in 10 years. Those products have a much better chance of making higher percentages of market penetration.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Great. I can’t wait. So I’ll either get an EV like normal folks or face a Mad Max post apocalyptic type of hunt for gasoline every damn day.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        @SD, curious, does the fact that my state is a so called “taker” state diminish the massive check I wrote to the IRS on the 15th?

        I love it when so called “givers” wag their fingers at folks like me. I mean, sure, I pay more than an average person earns in a year but yeah, because you live in a state with a bunch of billionaires in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, sure, you do soooooo much more than people like me and are obviously morally superior. Yes, I live in a red state. I bet I paid more than you. I could be wrong, but as I paid more than roughly 92 percent of taxpayers this year, it seems a safe bet. Let me guess, you got your “Earned” income credit this year. You are welcome, taker.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Again, it is the INDIVIDUAL income tax. It is “paid” by INDIVIDUALS, not states. I put the quotation marks around “paid” because pretty much half of “taxpayers” actually function as societal leeches and manage to benefit from the tax code and get back more than they pay. The left and the right both love that redistribution so long as it is their voters getting the money. Meanwhile the rest of us get to pay for it while little twerps wag their finger and call us “takers” because of the color of our state on the election maps.

        and “taypayers” is also quoted because again, about half of you are actually getting paid by the rest of us. Sell your nonsense elsewhere.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Trump is right. California is trying to get all the automakers to agree … so far, they have 4. I am sure the other automakers complained to Trump, and Trump is putting and end to the problem. Trump’s regulation rollback is good for the US auto industry. The Democrats view corporate profit and free markets (aka capitalism) as evil. Better to enslave us all into their forced socialist collectives and progressive plantations. The New Fascist Frontier, rebranded as Climate, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, has been dealt another blow.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      I prefer medicare for none.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      I’m a progressive, and I don’t think Capitalism is evil. Nobody I know does. I’ve never heard a progressive say that.

      Nor have I ever heard of any plan to ‘enslave’ you in ‘collectives’ and ‘plantations’. Your rhetoric is unhinged from reality. I urge you to step back, and try talking to people you disagree with, rather than listening to those on TV, radio, and the interwebs who want you to demonize half of the country.

      The truth is that we have almost everything in common, with very few issues that we disagree on. It’s sad to see media filling people with ideas that our neighbors are enemies and ‘fascists’.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      I’m not sure if your serious or not?

      Automakers who haven’t officially aligned themselves with CARB have not aligned themselves with trump either. But when push comes to shove, they are likely to join CARB.

      Only chance Trump has is to get CARBs exception removed, which again could take years in court.

      Regardless, they will make whatever CARB wants in the foreseeable future, otherwise they risking losing 50% of their profit margin.

      Trump isn’t doing anything other than trying to curtail California’s right, which will result in law suits for several years.

      Automakers are going to continue to produce cars which match CARB because it’s the most sure bet right now, especially with the way the rest of the World is going, which is stricter.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @SD: The US Constitution gives the states the right to control their own commerce, though not necessarily the right to control interstate commerce. Each state, therefore, has the right to demand its own pollution controls AS LONG AS they do not undercut Federal rules. If California and the other 13 states choose to enforce their own, higher, standards, the Federal government has no power to enforce the lower one.
        • Amendment X. (10) —- The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          @Vulpine, Constitution also gives Congress explicit power to regulate interstate commerce. So, any EPA compliant vehicle coming from outside California should be legal in California. You can’t violate the Constitutional rights of other Americans.
          EPA is a Federal agency it can force states to comply or waive the requirement. California has a special exemption privilege but only under “compelling and extraordinary conditions” to be approved by EPA. So, it’s at EPA’s discretion to extend this waiver for another year.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The state can control what is sold in the state. California, if it chooses, can totally ban any vehicle that doesn’t meet their state standards. And if you look at CARB, that’s exactly the direction they’ve chosen. If the vehicles don’t meet STATE standards, they cannot be sold in state. Those standards are essentially a percentage of vehicles MUST be Zero Emissions vehicles OR credits purchased from a ZEV manufacturer. If they fail to meet those standards, every product by that brand outside of direct zero-emissions vehicles will not be permitted to sell in those states.

            Interestingly enough, both states surrounding Washington, DC, have adopted those rules.

            So no, the EPA cannot force California or any other state to accept rules that would claim to override their own. They can only force those states to ensure their ‘minimums’ don’t fall below EPA minimums. Since those 13 or so states’ legislation EXCEEDS EPA minimums, the EPA simply cannot override them without destroying their own regulations.

            Forget the waiver portion of the EPA regulations for a moment and look at what those EPA requirements really say. There is literally nothing, what so ever, preventing the states from demanding tighter rules and the OEMs from adhering to those tighter rules.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Forget the waiver portion of the EPA regulations for a moment and look at what those EPA requirements really say. There is literally nothing, what so ever, preventing the states from demanding tighter rules and the OEMs from adhering to those tighter rules. Those CARB rules are not an “exemption” (definition: The state of being exempt; immunity. Meaning ‘not followed’ or ‘ignored’) but an extension or expansion of those rules–which is perfectly legitimate.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      What the President doesn’t understand is that the government does not have the ability to set a hard number and say, “this many mpg and no more.” The states do have the ability to set a higher limit if they choose and unless the auto companies want to build separate cars for those CARB-partnered states from the EPA “recommendations”, that merely adds cost to their production lines. Better to build one car to meet both standards than one car for EACH standard. They learned that back in the 70s, when there was such an uproar about “California compliance” cars outside of California. Now with more than half the population in CARB-partnered states, the EPA and the President are learning that California et al are now driving the fuel economy ratings rather than the Federal government.

      • 0 avatar
        Sceptic

        @Vulpine. You are absolutely wrong as regards the law. Literally:
        “The Clean Air Act gives California special authority to enact stricter air pollution standards for motor vehicles than the federal government’s. EPA must approve a waiver, however, before California’s rules may go into effect. ”
        Read more here: https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/california-greenhouse-gas-waiver-request

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    2 points:

    Trump loves to fight, and refuses to believe he’s ever wrong. He;ll doctor weather charts if he feels the need. California didn’t support him, so he hates California.

    The reason to lower the standards is to boost oil sales and consumption. The oil industry doesn’t pay millions in legal bribes to politicians for nothing. They want their payout.If the auto makers decide to produce vehicles that are clean and efficient, (perfectly legal) then the extra oil isn’t consumed, and the execs and investors don’t get more of your money.

    Trump or not, our government is designed to allow corruption.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I miss the days when “Gas War” meant lower prices instead of fighting over regulations. I’ll take that Mark IV with 32 cent a gallon gas.

  • avatar

    It would be more helpful if all automakers agreed to phase out cars with ICE at least in states which are for tougher standards and roll out all BEV fleets. End of the story.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The industry is essentially progressing toward that now. Anybody operating on the global stage is getting its crap together when it comes to BEVs since some pretty big economies have bans in place over the next 20-30 years.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    If you read the ‘nik, they’d have you believe it’s all Trump’s fault. That the automakers never asked for Trump’s help, and that that the automakers are siding with California (they aren’t). Oh, and of course they claim states rights and all that jazz, when in reality, there are people in California that would love to force their laws onto everyone and every other state.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The issue is not the President the issue is the possible loss of the California market and the possibility of losing the market of the 23 states that support California’s standards. Additionally not meeting stricter standards means not complying with the upcoming Western Europe standards. As a manufacturer do you want to have a variety of standards to have to comply with or do you want more standard regulations which is spread over more units thus lowering manufacturing costs. This is less about Trump and more about future standards that all manufacturers have to comply with long after Trump is out of office. Long term planning instead of short term.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    “But the situation deteriorated quickly, with neither California nor federal regulators showcasing any desire to cooperate.”

    Let’s be honest though, this isn’t really true. As has been made clearer and clearer by subsequent events, the Trump administration has been incredibly unreasonable all along while California is open to a reasonable compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      It was CARB that refused to talk to EPA. As simple as that. They want to keep their privilege to set their own emission standards. It’s at EPA’s discretion to allow Cali to do that!

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The current lawsuit suggests otherwise and could certainly go to the Supreme Court if necessary to establish the Constitutionality of any restriction against those states. By most interpretations of the Constitutional Amendment I posted above, the Federal Government has no say in any state legislation that exceeds Federal minimums.

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          It is quite likely that this may reach the Supreme Court. And the decision will be in Feds favor again. There are many similar precedents of Federal government prevailing over states restrictions.


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