President Donald Trump has slammed the brakes on the joint U.S.-California program to slash auto emissions and double gas mileage.
It’s up to Mary Nichols and the California Air Resources Board that she chairs to fight for the clean-car plan—the biggest single step any nation has taken against global warming.
The Trump rollback would halt gas mileage and emissions improvements. As a result, the fleet of new cars and trucks sold in 2025 would average just 29 miles per gallon in real-world driving, rather than 36 mpg, the equivalent of roughly 50 mpg in test conditions.
Nichols has said the state would “take whatever actions are needed to protect our people.”
The board can do that by:
1. Resisting compromising with the auto industry, which is lobbying for opaque loopholes to avoid incurring consumers’ ire by parroting Trump’s outright attack on fuel efficiency.
2. Thwarting automakers’ desire for weak post-2025 standards by putting vehicles on a strict low-emission regimen.
California plays a central role setting auto rules and has a responsibility to lead the world’s fight against auto pollution. Under the national Clean Air Act, the state has the right to set air pollution standards that are tougher than those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a response to its historic air pollution.
Trump wants to revoke that unique authority. Nichols must defend it.
Consider its impact: A dozen other states—40 percent of the nation’s auto market—follow California’s emissions leadership. Because no automaker wants to make two sets of vehicles to meet two sets of standards, the industry accepted the Obama administration rules, which were largely built on California law…
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Opinion articles by Safe Climate Campaign
To justify rolling back auto gas mileage and emissions rules, the Trump administration has fabricated a false conflict between safety and improved fuel economy. The administration is wrong. Americans must have both, and can.
Encouraged by automakers to roll back President Barack Obama’s stringent fuel-efficiency rules, the administration unveiled a proposal on Thursday doing just that. Its preferred option: bringing progress to a halt by requiring no further mileage improvements in new cars and light trucks beyond 2020…
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