SO FAR …. SO GOOD

EPA about to scrap fuel guidelines.

Basically telling Obongo he can shove his Euro-Nanny tiny car mandate and shove it up his ass.

The Trump administration is poised to abandon America’s pioneering fuel economy targets for cars and SUVs, a move that would undermine one of the world’s most aggressive programs to confront climate change and invite another major confrontation with California.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce in the coming days that it will scrap mileage targets the Obama administration drafted in tandem with California that aim to boost average fuel economy for passenger cars and SUVs to 55 miles per gallon by 2025, according to people familiar with the plans.

The agency plans to replace those targets with a weaker standard that will be unveiled soon, according to the people, who did not want to be identified discussing the plan before it was announced.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said a draft determination was undergoing interagency review and a final decision would be made by Sunday.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has previously suggested that he thinks the targets are too onerous for manufacturers and inhibit them from selling the vehicles most popular with Americans. A climate skeptic, Pruitt has questioned mainstream science on the warming caused by greenhouse gases such as auto emissions.

Whether Pruitt can weaken the rules for the entire country is an open question. California, with its history of smog problems and heightened vulnerability to climate change, has unique authority under the Clean Air Act to impose its own standard. The act also permits other states to adopt the California rules, and a dozen have.

Over the last decade, the federal government has worked with California to keep mileage targets uniform nationwide, folding the state’s aggressive smog and anti-pollution goals into the national program. A single standard is crucial to automakers who don’t want to contend with multiple production lines to comply with conflicting rules in states, particularly one as important to car sales as California.

After President Trump was elected, automakers immediately began lobbying him to rewrite the rules — and to pressure California to dial back its efforts. Pruitt’s action would give the companies limited or no relief if it is not enforced nationwide since California’s rules apply to more than a third of cars sold across the country, and automakers are loath to create multiple production lines to comply with conflicting rules.

The state is showing no sign of yielding. And the EPA chief is striking an increasingly hostile tone toward it, suggesting that he may seek to revoke the federal waiver that allows California to impose tougher rules than those of the federal government.

State leaders are daring him to try. They are confident it is a legal fight California would win.

“We are not going to go backward,” said California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. “We are not interested in a race to the bottom…. We are prepared to take whatever action, legal or otherwise, we have to to protect our health and our economy.”

“We didn’t make these moves lightly,” Becerra said of the fuel economy targets. “They came after years of study, scientific evidence, fact-gathering, comment periods, a lot of back and forth among experts and stakeholders. To unwind this and go backward would cost our industries and cost our people billions of dollars. There has to be a good reason to make any kind of move. We have seen nothing change that would make California change its position.”

The 55 miles per gallon target is based on outdated testing methods, so it is widely accepted that the current figure that would appear on the window sticker in showrooms is closer to 44 miles per gallon.

The ambitious Obama-era program is geared toward moving drivers into vehicles that by 2025 release, on average, half the greenhouse gases of vehicles built in 2010. The EPA called it the “the most significant federal action ever taken to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions.”

Some experts say the vehicle program is more significant in the fight against global warming even than Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, which sought to curb emissions from electricity plants. While market trends are pushing utilities to drive down their emissions even after Trump moved to unravel the Clean Power Plan, the auto industry is at risk of stalling on climate action if it is not pushed by government.

“Given the work that needs to be done to bring the transportation sector along and the importance of driving those emissions down, having government policy like this is essential,” said Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at UCLA.

The existing fuel economy rules are also at the foundation of California’s own climate goals, which could prove impossible to meet if the EPA were to successfully strip its authority to enforce them.

The auto industry is still holding out hope that a deal between California and the EPA could be brokered. A compromise might involve the state consenting to easing up on the rules for vehicles sold from 2022-25 — the years targeted by the administration — in exchange for extending federal rules out to 2030 with aggressive targets in those later years.

“We keep urging people not to rush to judgment,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “We haven’t seen the EPA’s data. We need to see what the government comes up with…. We see it as in California’s best interest to engage with the federal government and other stakeholders. If the state wants to maximize greenhouse gas reductions, it should work with us on a national level. California will get more done that way than going it alone.”

Ford Chief Executive Bill Ford, who has led the push for weakening the standard, wrote in a Medium post Tuesday that the company was “not asking for a rollback” but “flexibility to help us provide more affordable options for our customers.”

The Trump administration’s tone is more threatening than diplomatic. Pruitt told Bloomberg that he sees little sense in extending the mileage targets past 2025, and he also said publicly that California should not have the power to set the fuel economy agenda for the rest of the nation. It all suggests he is positioning to try to revoke the state’s waiver.

The environmental waiver is just one of many the federal government has granted the state over the decades, as California confronts its distinct problems with pollution and also serves as a model for environmental action nationwide. None of those waivers has ever been revoked, according to Stanley Young, a spokesman at the California Air Resources Board.

“There is a serious legal question as to whether one can, in fact, be revoked — and California would vigorously oppose such an effort,” he wrote in an email.

Carlson expects the administration will try.

It would have to take aim at the “compelling and extraordinary” circumstances that entitle California to obtain the waiver under federal law. In this case, those circumstances include the threat climate change poses to California’s coastline, its industries and its air quality, among other things.

The administration could argue other states face similar challenges and that the mileage rules can be made more flexible without imperiling them. And it would also argue that the rules are so onerous as to make them technologically and economically infeasible.

California’s confidence that it would prevail is rooted in the reams of evidence it has amassed to rebut such claims, and the decades in which its authority to impose air rules tougher than the EPA’s has been virtually undisputed by Washington.

“This is going to be a big legal battle,” Carlson said.

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6 Responses to SO FAR …. SO GOOD

  1. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    Watch. Now that the engines of capitalism are unleashed, in a few years free market competition will do what O’Bozo and all the laws, Executive Orders, and regulations of Gubberment could not do. Automobile fuel efficiency will rise, and emissions will drop. The laws of physics and thermodynamics cannot be repealed, but I’m willing to bet they’ll be heavily bent.

  2. Wonderful … but kind of late. The car makers need years to adapt, and they’ve all well on the way to implementing to Obo’s rules (mpg and emissions). That’s why Honda and so many others have put 1.5 turbo engines in everything, with go-kart CVT transmissions. And Mazda spent a zillion to develop their HCCI engine, which should give 2.5L power, get 45mpg and make nearly zero emissions. They’re all gonna shit if these regs get dropped … and they’ll probably just ignore them and keep right on being CA compliant. Toyota gambled and won, not going the turbo route, and is putting 300hp V6 in the Camry. Shame that it’s such an ugly POS car.

    OTOH, if better mpg was actually desired, try getting the alcohol out of our gas. Real gas gets you another 8% mileage over gasahol. And we don’t need the damn stuff, what with all the fracking and ANWAR oil flowing in. So stop that BS subsidy, and go back to growing food for people, not for fuel. Gas would be cheaper too.

  3. Leonard Jones says:

    I have long said that if the government removed the handcuffs on the oil industry,
    we could fill up our cars with 60 cents per gallon gas. Do the same thing with
    the regulations on health and you could get your son’s broken leg fixed out of
    pocket. President Trump has already axed over a thousand pieces of dead
    wood at the VA, and has just recently ordered the closure of 60 “”refugee”
    centers. Ben Carson is trimming the spending at HUD, and there was
    word serious cuts are being planned at the State Department.

    He may go down as the only president ever to reduce the size and scope
    of the federal government.

    Woodman, I was with you up to the last sentence. I once read a 25 or 30
    page essay on the issue of fuel economy and safety in the Heritage
    Foundations magazine in the 90s. All of the gains in fuel economy
    have come from removing vehicle mass, not some Quantum leap
    in engine efficiency. While fatalities dropped due to airbags and
    crumple zones, etc. we were forced into smaller and lighter cars.

    The article attached crash injury figures per 500 pounds of mass
    removed and they were much higher than the historically larger
    and heavier cars. They also investigated the increases in
    injuries and fatalities involving braking issues pre and post
    the change from Asbestos to “organic” brake pads. The numbers
    were staggering.

    It all comes down to mass. It takes a bigger engine to propel a
    heavier vehicle. Heavier vehicles are also safer. If the price of
    fuel goes low enough, fuel economy will no longer matter. Just
    like solar cells, Internal Combustion Engines are already at the
    ragged edge.

  4. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    LJ,
    Ya think IC engines are at the ragged edge? Maybe……..by today’s technology. But tomorrow……..?
    (hey. I read a lot of scifi. what is cutting edge today, is dull edge tomorrow.)

  5. Leonard Jones says:

    Woodman, that would defy the laws of thermodynamics. Perhaps some yet
    undiscovered fuel may get more squeal out of the pig, but not gasoline or
    diesel. I have 45 years in the mechanical trades as a compressor mechanic,
    Millwright, industrial maintenance mechanic and maintenance electrician.
    Back in the mid-70s, I bought a used 1969 Triumph Spitfire. I got 30+
    miles a gallon, but it had a 79 CI engine and the car was so light I could raise
    front wheels off the ground. Hybrid and electric cars and even hydrogen
    fuel cell powered vehicles are a complete pipe dream.

    My point was not that some technological breakthrough may come to pass.
    It might just happen at some point in the future, but we are stuck with what
    we have for a long time to come. But it might decades if not generations
    for that to happen. And as usual, government actually retards development
    because of burdensome regulations. We could have had cell phones by the
    mid-50s because the concept was developed during WWII.

  6. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    LJ,
    Oh I agree. Get the Gubberment out of private enterprise. Get them out of healthcare (thanks for nuttin’, FDR). Get the Gubberment out of most of our lives, we’d be a whole hell of a lot better off, in many ways.

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