Zero-Emission Showdown With Trump as California Sticks With Targets

A showdown between California and Trump over car emissions is coming right up, and California is a strong favorite to lose.

by Mish

Investors who pushed up shares of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler on a bet that Donald Trump will gut clean-air rules may have forgotten another player with a big say: California.
The state has more people and cars than any other, giving its regulators an outsize influence on what automakers build. And lest anyone think differently, California has no intention of backing away from clean-air enforcement, even if Trump undermines federal mandates, said Dan Sperling, a member of its powerful Air Resources Board.
“The ARB is definitely committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” Sperling said. “I don’t think the California effort will be much affected.”
Auto stocks surged last week after the president-elect named climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team.
On Thursday, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, with two years left in his term, tweeted that California will “continue to confront the existential threat of our time – devastating climate change.” ARB Chairman Mary Nichols tweeted, “California’s commitment to clean air and climate protection has been strengthened by this election.”
Before California can extend its ZEV mandates beyond 2025, it will need permission from Trump or his successor — or threaten to sue, a step it’s taken before. In the meantime, the Republican-controlled Congress could amend the Clean Air Act to remove California’s ability to set its own standard, or for other states to adopt similar plans. Congress could slash the EPA budget.
Automakers may be in a position to promote a compromise between Trump and California, since they need rules that let them sell the same cars in all 50 states, said Robert Bienenfeld, assistant vice president for environmental policy at Honda Motor Co. in the U.S.
Automakers may be in a position to promote a compromise between Trump and California, since they need rules that let them sell the same cars in all 50 states, said Robert Bienenfeld, assistant vice president for environmental policy at Honda Motor Co. in the U.S.
“Maybe automakers will need to come to the defense of the EPA,” Bienenfeld said. “We need an enforcement agency to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules. There are lots of good rules that are broadly supported by the public. The wholesale disbandment of EPA is unthinkable.”

California Has Two Choices

California likely has two choices, neither of which it will like:

  1. Compromise
  2. Risk Trump wholesale gutting the EPA

The irony in this mess is the huge push to electric cars is going to happen anyway. Even electric powered trucks are coming.

Driverless Uber cars and taxis are coming. There will be much less of a need for vehicles in cities by 2025.

Completely Driverless Vehicle Testing

However, the new law only applies to a project spearheaded by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, called GoMentum, and a business park in San Ramon, California.

Moreover, the law includes provisions to keep the self-driving cars under 35 mph and strict reporting requirements for any crashes in the cars.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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