Tags: california | trump | emissions | laws

Calif. Emissions Laws: Who's Making the Rules?

(Martin Meissner/AP)

By Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:58 AM Current | Bio | Archive

There is some confusion on why President Trump, the California Air Research Board and automakers are disputing over the upcoming changes in emissions standards.

The explanation is not political, the explanation is important because one state cannot place rules and regulations on the other 49 states no matter what the subject matter.

Automakers, including Ford, signed a letter to President Trump asking him to restore the promised mid-term review of mileage standards that they negotiated with President Barack Obama in 2012. Obama tore up that commitment on his way out the door and declared the original standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2024 set in stone. This put a wrench in the future planning for automobiles.

This mid-term review was supposed to examine such things as technology, market conditions, consumer attitudes, impact on employment and profits, safety and other factors to determine whether the CAFE demand was attainable. The current numbers were pulled from thin air by Obama's regulators, without regard to whether it could be achieved.

Despite the spin from environmentalists and much of the media, the automakers never asked Trump to roll back the standard, but simply to give them what they were promised: a data-driven review.

The administration complied with moving toward a sharply lower target of roughly 37 mpg. It's a standard automakers can meet without abandoning their highly profitable pickups and sport utility vehicles, without trying to force an artificial market for the electric vehicles that California demands, but consumers don't want.

Ford and the other automakers are worried that California would march into court the minute the new standards were issued and assert its right under a 2006 law to draft its own regulations, setting up a dual automotive market. This concerns environmentalists as they would declare war on them, which will happen anyway.

Automakers concerns were then abandoned and four companies accepting California's arbitrary process designed to bolster the state's green agenda. It would seem they should prepare to have their worst nightmare of having California regulate emissions and fuel economy standards.

Empowering California is dangerous and will lead to automotive products that have no connection to market demand, and thus slumping sales and job losses.

Mileage and emission standards are not the issue here. The issue, as in so many other areas, is one of control. The private automobile is the issue, for it provides freedom of movement for the masses.

The Answer: The problem with these regulations is how the automakers are responding to them. If 13 states impose laws that increase the cost of the cars that are sold there, the automakers should charge a $3,000 surcharge or whatever on cars sold in those states. Nobody in Wyoming should have to pay extra for a car that ends up subsidizing a car sold in California. If California wants to impose costs on selling a car, only California consumers should pay for it. Not people in states without those regulations.

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. Post your comments on Twitter: @LaurenFix or on her Facebook Page.

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There is some confusion on why President Trump, the California Air Research Board and automakers are disputing over the upcoming changes in emissions standards.
california, trump, emissions, laws
Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:58 AM
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