On Auto Emissions, California Saves the Day

By Editorial Board | Bloomberg Link to article

Your next car could be a lot better for the climate. Thank the Golden State — and the auto companies.

California just notched a victory in its battle with the Trump administration over environmental policy. What makes this win especially notable — and especially encouraging — is that an alliance with car manufacturers helped bring it about.

Some background: For more than half a century, California has been permitted to set its own targets for auto emissions and fuel economy — standards that more than a dozen other states, representing more than 30% of the U.S. auto market, now follow. Car makers came to treat the state’s high standards as de facto national benchmarks.

That worked well enough until last year, when the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Donald Trump’s direction, said it would set new and less demanding national standards — in effect, driving a wedge between California’s rules and the targets to be applied elsewhere. In talks with the Trump administration to establish consistent — and looser — national standards, California stood its ground. The White House angrily broke off the discussion; California threatened to adopt “extreme” new rules if the president didn’t relent; and lengthy litigation loomed.

Link to article