Gas War: White House Preparing to Strip California of Regulatory Privileges, Report Claims

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gas war white house preparing to strip california of regulatory privileges report

It’s not as if we anticipated any other outcome, but the White House is moving forward with a plan to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle emission standards. According to Reuters, President Donald Trump met with senior officials in Washington on Thursday to discuss the administration’s proposal to roll back Obama-era standards through 2025 and potentially revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act to set state requirements for vehicles.

Anonymous sources claimed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and acting Office and Management and Budget director Russell Vought were in attendance.

Wheeler recently stated that no official decisions had been made about California’s ability to self-regulate, while also suggesting that the final draft of the rollback could be less extreme than the original proposal. Thursday’s meeting must have been pretty productive.

From Reuters:

On Tuesday, Wheeler told reporters the administration had not made a final decision to divide the rule into two parts.

Following the meeting, sources said the administration plans to move ahead in coming weeks to divide the final regulation and finalize first the portion dealing with preempting states before issuing the new yearly standards.

The EPA in August 2018 proposed revoking a waiver granted to California in 2013 under the Clean Air Act as part of the Trump administration’s plan to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards.

Under Trump, federal regulators backed freezing emissions requirements for new cars and trucks at 2020 levels through 2026. Administration officials say its final regulation will include a modest boost in annual efficiency requirements but far less than what the Obama administration set in 2012.

In the interim, the U.S. Justice Department will continue investigating whether Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda violated antitrust law by voluntarily agreeing to adopt California’s emission standards. Expect plenty of litigation to come from all of this, as California is unlikely to back down, plus a prolonged gas war.

[Image: Nithid Memanee/Shutterstock]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 14, 2019

    @Art Vandelay--Well said, completely agree. Some of this is Trump looking for a fight which is how he operates. Let California and the states that follow California's standards do whatever they want. If a manufacturer decides to make vehicles that are compliant with all 50 states then that is their choice and if they don't care to sell in California then they do not have to comply with California regulations. Living in Kentucky I don't want to pay for California regulations unless the manufacturer makes vehicles compliant with California regulations for all 50 states that is still affordable. I am not going to lose any sleep over this especially since I do not live in California.

  • Sceptic Sceptic on Sep 16, 2019

    This discussion is full of vile racist hate against Trump. Majority of people can feel this kind of hate coming from the current Democratic party. Hate against Trump is hate against the choice of an average American voter. This is why Trump will win his second term.

    • See 1 previous
    • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 18, 2019

      The only people to mention race in here at all are the Trump fans banging the drum about a "fifth column" of "illegals." Christ, you are too much. Can we please keep the nutty politics off the car blog?

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.