Talks Stall Between U.S., Calif. on Fuel Economy

February 19, 2019 at 4:55 PM

Efforts to reconcile future U.S. and California rules about vehicle emissions have collapsed with no agreement, sources tell Bloomberg News.

The two sides have been negotiating off and on for months in hopes of finding a way to avoid a future with two sets of standards: one for most states and another for California and a dozen states that back its regulations.

The Trump administration contends that scheduled sharp cuts in allowable carbon dioxide emission for 2022-2025, which carmakers agreed to in 2012, are too onerous. The White House proposes to freeze CO2 limits in 2020. California says it intends to enforce the tougher regulations anyway.

Setting CO2 limits affects fuel economy levels for piston-powered vehicles, because their level of fuel consumption relates directly to how much CO2 they emit. The Trump administration argues that California must concede, because the federal government alone has power to set fuel economy standards.

The Trump administration has threatened from the start of the debate to take away California’s nearly 50-year-old right to set its own emission standards if necessary to resolve the debate.