EPA, California Still Far Apart on Fuel Economy Regs

February 04, 2019 at 6:11 PM

A big gap remains between California and the Trump administration on how to reconcile their emission and fuel economy standards.

Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency’s acting administrator, tells Bloomberg Television the two sides remain “pretty far apart.” But he reiterates that Washington ultimately will set the national standards, with or without California.

The Trump administration is determined to freeze current carbon dioxide emission standards, which are poised to tighten dramatically in 2021-2026, at the 2020 level. The California Air Resource Board, which has the Congressional authority to set its own regulations, is equally adamant about enforcing the original standards anyway.

Without resolution, the U.S. would become a dual-standard market as it was 40 years ago in the early days of emission regulations. Today, 13 other states and the District of Columbia subscribe to CARB’s standards. The Trump administration says it will move to abolish California’s right to set its own regulations if necessary resolve the impasse.