California Defies Trump Administration, Sticks With Obama-Era Fuel Economy Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled their Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule back in August, but a number of states vowed to fight the proposal which aims to freeze fuel economy standards at 2020 levels.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has followed through on its threat and voted to keep the original, Obama era standards in place.

This means automakers will need to have a corporate average fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg (65.4 mpg UK / 4.3L/100km) by 2025. In comparison, the federal government is only aiming for an average of 37 mpg (44 mpg UK / 6.3L/100km). That’s a massive difference of 17.5 mpg (21 mpg UK / 13.4L/100km), or roughly the equivalent of what a Lamborghini Aventador (supposedly…) gets on the highway.

CARB’s decision means that California and 12 other states could have their own fuel economy standards. The original plan, which was adopted in 2012 under President Obama, would have created nationwide standards.

The decision will have a huge impact on automakers as the 13 states are responsible for more a third of the light passenger vehicles that sold in America. In effect, it would likely push many companies to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles than the federal government requires.

Of course, the Trump administration hasn’t been shy about threatening to revoke California’s ability to set its own fuel economy standards. Back in April, then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said: “Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country.” The government also said “The California waiver is still being reexamined by EPA under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership.”

The decision likely sets the stage for another court battle, but CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said: “Today’s vote by the Board ensures that California and 12 other states will not fall victim to the Trump administration’s rollback of vehicle standards should its proposal be finalized.”

  • Christian


  • ace_9

    I appreciate usage of the metric system units very much. But you can’t calculate the difference between average consumption like that 😀 It is ok to subtract two values in l/100 km and you get a correct value showing the difference. But if you subtract values in mpg, then you get nonsense 🙂 Because the difference 54.5 and 37 mpg is not aventador consumption 😀

    • Blue Gum

      Your calculations are off too btw.

      • ace_9

        So, why don’t you correct it?

        • ChrisInIL

          The Aventador consumes 17.9 l/100 km, or 13.1 mpg (combined) per the Lambo website.

          235 l / 100 km = 1 mpg

          Therefore, 235 / 17.9 = 13.1

          or the other way (1 / 13.1) x 235 = 17.9

          Don’t invert the mpg numbers to compare the values,

          • ace_9

            I was pointing out that the whole Aventador thing is stupid. And you took it as a fact and derived some formulas converting mpg to l/100 km and vice versa… wow…

          • ChrisInIL

            OK, you got me. I thought you were serious.

            Now I see that you must be joking.

  • Someone pop the champagne!!!

  • kachuks

    “Roughly the equivalent, of a Aventador.” The irony that many of those are on California roads.

    • ace_9

      The calculation is wrong however. Did it seem right to you that a difference between 54,5 and 37 mpg is the same as what Aventador is consuming on a highway?

  • MarkoS

    Nice attempt at divisive liberal tabloid Carscoops, but you all should probably stick to cars and leave the politics out. There is no defiance in Auto-Manufacturers and States having tougher regulations than federal standards, this is the way the industry is going anyway as people now demand it. Since States such as California already regulate through volume (Sales,) there really is no need for much costly federal oversite and bureaucracy here. The Auto Industry is not going to start making separate dirty cars for lower volume States with lower standards. President Trump knows this and much the same applies to the Feds easing up on other regulations. The power of States comes into play in an effective way for the entire USA in this way.


      • MarkoS

        That would include your snide and disrespectful commenting while ignoring any valid points. But hey buddy, sorry to tell you, You didn’t ruin my day.



  • brn

    I do so enjoy California dictating what happens for the entire country.


    • badcyclist

      We don’t. It is quite the other way around here. If you and your state wants more air and water pollution, knock yourselves out.

      • danno

        And if states want to pay more for new vehicles with a questionable ROI, knock yourselves out.
        And if states want to ignore the big problem, vehicles that are older than 10 years, that pollute far more than any new vehicles will overcome. Just patching the road instead of rebuilding it, is so short sighted.

        • badcyclist

          Your comment has nothing at all to do with my comment, and for that matter it also has nothing to do with brn’s comment. Otherwise, great job.

          • danno

            Knocking yourself out is in common – have at it.

      • brn

        As I’m sure you’re aware, because of CA’s buying power, the automakers will comply with CA’s requirements. Their alternative is to make two versions.

        It will eventually get to a point where it’s not worth it. They may simply choose not to offer some models in CA.

        BTW: Air and water pollution are nowhere near as bad in my state as they are in CA.

        • Enter Ranting

          …and your state is?


    • danno

      michgos caps lock key is stuck yet again…..and I’m not sure why I care

  • tkindred

    Considering the rest of the developed world has higher srandards I don’t think it will be much of a problem. Also, in the long term higher standards are more sustainable. Finally, pretty sure we’ll have a fresh new, more forward thinking administration in a couple years anyway so why even bother?

    • danno

      Higher standards in the developed world? Proof please, and be specific.

      • BGM

        What Comrade Progress probably means is…. you know what, forget it, I too would like an answer to your question.


  • GobbleUp

    F*ing embarrassment of a leader.

    • Paul

      Who, Jerry Brown ?

      • danno

        Gerry, Jerry, whatever….

    • danno

      Should be more supportive of Gerry Brown, or on second thought, maybe not

  • Liam Paul

    100, 200 and 300 years from now children will read maybe stories like this about one of America’s greatest mistakes from 2016

  • Paul

    So, they decided not to give the citizens of Ca. a break from excessive regulations.

    • Stigasawuswrecks

      And thanks to all of those regulations they only managed to have the 6th greatest economy in the world.

  • David De Fortier

    Thanks for the metrics conversion. Helped alot

    • ace_9

      But the difference between two mpg values is wrong… Because not even americans can make sense of their mpg values 😀

  • BGM

    You make plenty of sense but there are some things I take exception to:

    . If the people want it, there shouldn’t be a regulation for it. The market would take care of it. Actually, the truth lies somewhere between your statement and mine.

    . CARB is the enemy of cars at least as much as it’s the friend of the environment. CARB apparatchiks would like it best if we were all herded into mass transit, just ahead of banning that too and making us walk everywhere.

    . States’ powers is a cherished freedom and yet there are some things that affect us all that should be centrally agreed. Maybe this is one of them. Maybe.

    • MarkoS

      The basic regulation or standard should be set federally if States or even corporations want to improve on that so be it. It is when States abuse their freedoms and act independently that negatively effects the whole in defiance of federal law we find problems.

  • adbt20

    The calculation is wrong! The difference between 54.5 and 37 mpg is not at all equivalent to Aventador consumption.
    Perhaps the simplest way of stating it is:
    The CARB target of 54.5 mpg is about 47% more fuel efficient than Trumps new target.

  • brn

    CA chooses to have high gas prices.

    No one is stopping anyone from buying a fuel efficient automobile.

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