Automakers Tell Trump Not to Weaken Tailpipe Emissions Standards

By Paul Riegler on 6 June 2019
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The TIlt Conveyer at the BMW Factory

The U.S. auto industry – which had asked President Trump to relax pollution standards shortly after his inauguration – is now warning that his efforts to reduce tailpipe emissions are going to create instability for the automakers themselves.

In a letter released on Thursday and signed by 17 companies including General Motors, Ford, and Toyota, the automakers warned the administration that the fallout from his plan to all but eliminate Obama-era pollution standards will result in significant problems.

On April 2, saying the standards were set “too high,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the Trump administration would revise tailpipe emissions standards negotiated by the Obama administration for motor vehicles built between 2022 and 2025.

Automakers would face a bifurcated market and experience “an extended period of litigation and instability” in the event his plan is implemented, the companies said in the letter. Fourteen states including New York and California would seek to continue to enforce their own, higher pollution standards, in the event that the lower standards went into effect, resulting in a patchwork quilt where neighboring states might allow the sale of vehicles that meet dramatically different emissions standards.

When the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, California was already developing laws and standards to address its unique air pollution problems. As a result, Congress carved out an exemption that requires the EPA to grant California a waiver that allows it to apply its own regulations. While other states can’t create their own regulations, they can opt to follow California’s.

Signatories of the letter also included, BMW, Volvo, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)