President Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to re-examine federal requirements governing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, moving forcefully against Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump says are stifling economic growth.
Trump was set to reveal his plans during a speech at an automotive testing center near Detroit, but he previewed the announcement during a round-table meeting at the American Center for Mobility with auto company executives and workers, just before the speech.
“This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation,” Trump said.
Some of you probably know the auto industry better than I do. Was it really just those awful old auto emissions standards that killed Detroit? Especially since the current standards were agreed to in 2009, after the auto industry was already on life support?
Trump’s announcement, while having no immediate effect, is expected to set the stage for weaker fuel efficiency standards as well as drawn-out legal battles with environmental groups and states such as California that adopted their own tough tailpipe standards for drivers.
Trump’s EPA director, Scott “What Global Warming?” Pruitt, doesn’t think California should be allowed to set its own emissions standards.
Scott Pruitt said at a contentious confirmation hearing Wednesday that he cannot commit to keeping in place the current version of a decades-old federal waiver that allows California to set emissions standards stricter than elsewhere in the United States.
In recent years, California regulators have used the waiver to force automakers to build more efficient vehicles, which has helped the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by nearly a third since 2009.
More than a dozen other states have adopted the California standard as part of their own efforts both to clean their air and fight global warming.
The other states include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont; all together, states with their own high emissions standards make up about 30 percent of the American market, it says here.
Wingnuts love states’ rights as long as states are doing things they approve of. Otherwise, not so much.
But isn’t it a fact that most first-world industrialized nations have auto-emissions standards? Even if Detroit is allowed to knock off cheaper cars to sell domestically, what about international sales? And will foreign auto makers cut the standards for cars they sell in the U.S., making them cheaper, too?
And I doubt doubling down on internal combustion is really a smart long-term strategy, given that much of the rest of the world is moving toward electric cars. Or so I’ve read.