Back in April, President Trump’s fuel economy and emissions regulations went into effect, dramatically cutting back on the requirements set by the Obama administration. Yet still, California emissions standards have upheld the previous requirements. More than just a Republican vs Democrat change, the new requirements were designed to lower the average price of a car, while allowing engineers to focus more on safety features at the expense of fuel economy and emissions. If that’ll be the case is yet to be seen, but the changes have created some differences across America in both states and automakers.
California emissions standards have opted to side with the original requirements set in the Obama era already, and now Nevada has decided to follow the same path as their neighboring state, according to the Los Angeles Times. With Nevada, now more than a dozen states have adopted California emissions standards, rather than the national standards set by Trump.
But Trump’s EPA has claimed that California doesn’t have the right to set their own fuel economy and emissions standards. This goes against the federal governments decision in 1970 that gave California special privileges in response to severe air quality concerns. From then on, California has been able to set their own guidelines, and other states have the option of choosing either national or Californian standards.
After rejecting their autonomy, 22 states have joined California in suing the Trump administration in response to the lighter restrictions, claiming cutbacks on emissions will have negative impacts on public health in the future. To a degree, they’re probably right.
But on the flip side, electric vehicles are still expensive and out of budget for many buyers. We also don’t have the infrastructure to support EVs becoming the new vehicle standard yet. The Obama regulations were tight, and chances are they couldn’t be met in the timeframe (46.7 mpg by 2025), which would have caused fines to most automakers that sell gas powered vehicles and driven vehicle prices up. Because of this, bit GM and Toyota have opted to abide by the Trump regulations.
Looking forward, it’ll be interesting to see how automakers respond to the very real threats climate change creates, and how the national and state governments handle this. There’s no denying, whatever the White House says, that we do need to address climate change in an aggressive way, but cars are not the only source of pollution in our nation that need reform. And we also need to combat it in a way that works well for both automakers and the average customer.
Maybe we can get a car enthusiast in government that can create a nice little loophole for the V8 engine while we’re at it.