The Trump administration announced last year that it would seek to freeze fuel economy and emissions standards at 2020 levels, effectively rolling back Obama administration-era regulations. One point of contention? California, which would no longer be able to set its own standards with the proposed changes.
Now, it appears negotiations between the state and federal government have run out of gas. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that sources familiar with the negotiations said the Trump administration never responded to a floated compromise package California negotiators floated last year. Discussions broke off around this past Christmas. Additionally, no further discussions are planned at this time.
The federal government’s proposal would cap fuel economy regulations at 2020 levels, around 37 mpg for a corporate average standard. Under current rules, fuel economy must rise to 47 mpg throughout the next decade. Automakers argued for the change and said the previous standards are out of touch with today’s market realities. When the Trump administration revealed its proposal, automakers quickly said it went too far.
However, General Motors, specifically, has said it fully backs the idea of one national fuel economy standard. Today, automakers must meet federal and California Air Resources Board standards. A handful of other states also follow California’s regulations, and the list is set to grow soon with the addition of Colorado’s adoption. The rules leave automakers with the headache of building cars to meet two sets of regulations and often leads to “compliance cars” to meet an electric-car quota.
The administration is said to be considering a proposal to implement more marginal fuel economy improvements after 2020, rather than outright freeze standards at next year’s levels.