EPA wants '50-state' fix for auto efficiency, seeks biofuel reforms

EPA wants '50-state' fix for auto efficiency, seeks biofuel reforms

The proposal is still in the final stages of a broad interagency review led by President Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget, but these major elements of the plan were not expected to change, the people said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are expected to propose an end to the 2009 waiver that gave California the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and mandate that auto companies reach a quota of electric vehicles sold, according to Bloomberg News.

"Honda continues to support one national program that aligns the regulations of EPA, NHTSA and California", said Robert J. Bienenfeld, associate vice president of regulatory policy for American Honda Motor Company. Currently, California is requiring average vehicle fuel efficiency to reach almost 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Clean Air Act waiver has allowed California to set its own emissions rules for vehicles, which are now followed by 16 other states and the District of Columbia.

The proposed regulations revamp will also stop the current federal rules aiming to boost fuel efficiency into the next decade.

The Trump administration proposal will seek to reverse planned hikes in fuel efficiency standards adopted by the Obama administration.

The other attack on California comes in the form of a proposed revocation of the state's mandate that automakers sell electric vehicles. Jerry Brown did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

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In 2009, California received a waiver from the EPA, allowing it to set its own limits on greenhouse gases from vehicles, effectively mandating that vehicles sold in California burn less fossil fuel.

An annual report issued this month by the California Air Resources Board found that California already has met its 2020 goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels.

"In California, transportation has been the only sector where emissions have been flat or even going up, so this is very important, " said Daniel Sperling, a member of the Air Resources Board and founding director of the University of California at Davis' Institute of Transportation Studies. But instead of pursuing a deal, the plan spearheaded by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will attempt to eliminate or override California's emissions authority and force the state to adopt less-stringent federal pollution standards. Under guidelines set up by the Obama Administration, those standards aimed to increase fuel economy averages to around 36 mpg for new cars in real-world driving conditions by 2025.

The most-populous US state and 16 others plus the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on May 2 seeking to block the Trump administration's effort to unravel the Obama-era emissions targets.

"The big question: Who will the vehicle companies back?"

"It will be a giant case", Sivas said, adding that multiple states will join California in suing the federal government. Whether California can argue that economy standards and emissions are tied will determine the overall outcome of the case.

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