The Environmental Protection Agency last month launched a new rule-making process that aims at rolling back Obama-Era Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. In addition, the EPA is looking to revoke the long-standing regulatory waiver that allows California to set its own automobile fuel efficiency and emissions standards.
When the auto industry was on the ropes during the financial crisis ten years ago, the Obama administration in exchange for bailout funds extracted a promise from the car companies that they would achieve a fleet-wide fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon on new cars by 2025. “At every step in the process the analysis has shown that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks remain affordable and effective through 2025, and will save American drivers billions of dollars at the pump while protecting our health and the environment,” said outgoing EPA head Gina McCarthy in 2016.
That was then. Shortly after Trump administration minions had taken over various federal regulatory agencies, carmakers sought some loosening of the Obama CAFE standards. Environmentalists and Democratic politicians vowed to fight to maintain the stricter CAFE standards. Yesterday, California and 17 other states filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit arguing that by opening up a new fuel economy rule-making that the agency has “acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations and violated the Clean Air Act.”