WASHINGTON — Sources told Bloomberg that Trump administration officials representing the EPA and NHTSA held a “tense” late-February conference call with auto manufacturing executives. The topic was fuel economy standards, those sources said, and the message was clear: Support President Donald Trump’s plan to ease Obama-era regulations or side with California, which sets its own, stricter standards.
The call followed a White House declaration that talks with the California Air Resources Board had broken down. CARB officials disputed that statement, claiming the administration ended the discussions prematurely. In August, a joint EPA/NHTSA proposal recommended adding 10 miles per gallon to the Obama administration’s 37 mpg standard, set to take effect in 2020, and revoking California’s right to make its own rules.
“Nearly all” factories have made some effort to convince both sides to come to an agreement that would head off what could be a messy legal battle, the report said. California would presumably fight any attempt by the federal government to mandate national standards for fuel economy and tailpipe emissions.
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