Trump revokes federal waiver allowing California to set higher emissions, fuel efficiency standards

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Prior to leaving office, former President Barack Obama set strict fuel efficiency standards for the automobile industry that would require automakers to produce and sell fleets that met virtually unattainable regulations if they wanted to sell their products to American consumers.

Though President Donald Trump’s administration has rolled back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to pre-Obama levels, the state of California had obtained a waiver and insisted on clinging to the higher standard set by Obama for vehicles sold in that state — but that waiver has just been revoked by President Trump, according to Breitbart.

“The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER,” Trump announced in a series of tweets.

He went on: “This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety…advantage, and also due to the fact that older, highly polluting cars, will be replaced by new, extremely environmentally friendly cars.”

Trump rolls back waiver

According to President Trump, “there will be very little difference in emissions between the California Standard and the new U.S. Standard, but the cars will be…far safer and much less expensive.”

The president also expects the move to result in more cars being produced, “meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”

“Automakers should seize this opportunity,” Trump said, “because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business.”

Limiting California’s power

When it first became clear that the Trump administration would roll back the Obama-era CAFE standards, the California Air Resources Board engaged in negotiations with several automakers and reached a deal that would maintain the higher standards for vehicles to be sold in California, according to a July report from the Detroit Free Press.

But by using the right to sell new vehicles in California as a bargaining chip, the state effectively usurped the federal government and forced automakers to accede to “recognize California’s authority” over fleet averaged fuel efficiency standards. Inevitably, in order to keep the exorbitant costs down as much as possible, all vehicles would have been produced to meet that higher standard.

Needless to say, that move by California didn’t sit well with the Trump administration, as was noted in a recent speech by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who noted that it’s not up to California to set the standard for the rest of the nation and discussed the Trump administration’s plans to set a national standard.

“We embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation,” Wheeler said of the Golden State. “To borrow from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, CAFE does not stand for California Assumes Federal Empowerment.”

California will undoubtedly complain about this move by the Trump administration and likely fight it in the courts, but this is the right move. Good going, Mr. President.

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