Just over a week after US President Donald Trump paid a visit to the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, where he announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would reopen the review of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards put in place under President Obama, California has approved its own, stricter rules.
Reuters reports that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) finalized new fuel-economy rules for model years 2022 through 2025 in a unanimous vote, while setting a new mandate for zero-emissions-vehicle sales over the same period. It also set the CARB staff to work identifying targets for after 2025.
The standards set forth by the CARB, which is permitted to implement its own emissions standards independently of the EPA, are followed in full or part by more than a dozen other states. Because of that, automakers might have a tough time ahead of them as they attempt to navigate two different national emissions standards – or, they might find it more prudent to abide by CARB’s rules nationwide, effectively nullifying any new, lighter standards put forth by the EPA.
A White House Official told Reuters that President Trump’s move regarding reopening the review of federal CAFE standards was done to protect jobs and keep vehicles more affordable. Estimates of how many jobs might be lost due to strict CAFE standards vary widely, with many experts saying that the tighter controls could actually lead to more jobs in the industry.
“We are disappointed that California has chosen to refuse our good-faith offer to work together with all relevant stakeholders on this important matter,” said the official.
The EPA could ultimately overturn California’s independent fuel-economy standards.