On behalf of Girardi Keese of Girardi | Keese posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents.
California makes its own rules on fuel efficiency. At least for now. And while it’s not likely that this will change under the Trump Administration’s version of the EPA, the rumor mill says that the federal government may give it a shot, using phrases like “death toll” when referring to California’s fuel efficiency standards.
As per the San Francisco Examiner, when EPA head Scott Pruitt went to get the mail recently, he found letters from the Koch brothers and the Competitive Enterprise Institute asking him to revoke California’s waiver, which allows the state to make its own rules on fuel efficiency standards. And it’s possible that Pruitt is getting similar messaging from the White House.
Their argument goes like this: California’s aggressive fuel efficiency standards (1) force automakers to make lighter cars (purportedly more dangerous in a crash) and (2) increase the cost of new models (equipped with cutting-edge safety technology), which discourages people from buying them.
All roads lead to death, in other words, a “death toll” that the administration argues is a direct result of California’s stricter fuel-efficiency standards.
That is, unless California’s waiver is revoked, and the invisible hand of the free market reigns without those pesky fuel efficiency standards getting in the way. As the Examiner explains, the Clean Air Act gives California the authority to set fuel-efficiency rules that go further than the feds – but the waiver doesn’t appear to be set in stone.
This sets the stage for yet another showdown between California and the federal government.
In response to all of this, Gov. Jerry Brown said, “The idea that we’re going to roll back the auto standards is absurd. It’s not going to happen, and the attempts to do this are going to be bogged down in litigation long after we have a new president.”