• 4 minutes Trump will meet with executives in the energy industry to discuss the impact of COVID-19
  • 8 minutes Charts of COVID-19 Fatality Rate by Age and Sex
  • 11 minutes Why Trump Is Right to Re-Open the Economy
  • 13 minutes Its going to be an oil bloodbath
  • 1 hour US Shale Resilience: Oil Industry Experts Say Shale Will Rise Again
  • 2 hours While China was covering up Covid-19 it went on an international buying spree for ventilators and masks. From Jan 7th until the end of February China bought 2.2 Billion masks !
  • 36 mins Ten days ago Trump sent New York Hydroxychloroquine. Being administered to infected. Covid deaths dropped last few days. Fewer on ventilators. Hydroxychloroquine "Cause and Effect" ?
  • 6 hours Marine based energy generation
  • 2 hours China Takes Axe To Alternative Energy Funding, Slashing Subsidies For Solar And Wind
  • 4 hours Today 127 new cases in US, 99 in China, 778 in Italy
  • 10 hours Real Death Toll In CCP Virus May Be 12X Official Toll
  • 20 hours What If ‘We’d Adopted A More Conventional Response To This Epidemic?’
  • 1 day Trafigura CEO Weir says, "We will see 30% to 35% drop in demand". That amounts to 35mm bbls/day glut ! OPEC+ 10 mm cut won't fix it. It's a DEMAND problem.
  • 40 mins Apple to Bypass Internet and Beam Directly to Phones
  • 6 hours Which producers will shut in first?
  • 16 hours TRUMP pushing Hydroxychloroquine + Zpak therapy forward despite FDA conservative approach. As he reasons, "What have we got to lose ?"
Alt Text

Will Trump Use Tariffs To Protect U.S. Oil?

“I would use tariffs, if…

Alt Text

Big Oil Raises Debt To Ride Out Price Crash

As prices crashed, the supermajors…

Alt Text

North Sea Oil Faces Crisis

North Sea oil has a…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

More Info

Premium Content

Trump Clashes With California Over Fuel Regulations

The Trump administration is moving to strip California of its authority to set stricter pollution limits for cars and trucks, the most aggressive step yet in its efforts to deregulate and water-down the nation’s fuel economy standards.

At the start of President Trump’s term, major automakers saw an opportunity to ask the incoming president for weaker fuel economy standards. But they got a lot more than they bargained for. Not only did Trump’s EPA propose drastically weaker standards, but it has now decided to go to war with California, which has refused to play ball.

California has long been afforded the authority to set its own standards, a situation that dates back decades to horrifically smoggy days in some California cities. Typically, the state has harmonized its standards with the federal government.

But California balked when the Trump administration proposed an aggressive rollback. Trump’s EPA proposed cutting standards to just 37 miles per gallon for model years 2020-2025, down from the 54.5 mpg on the books from the Obama era.

That led to a nightmare scenario for automakers, who faced a bifurcated market. There would be little benefit of manufacturing dirtier cars for some parts of the U.S. if they still had to build cleaner cars for California. Moreover, 13 states and the District of Columbia have promised to follow California’s standards.  

So, in recent months, the top automakers cut a deal with California, agreeing to an average fuel economy standard of 50 mpg by 2026. They announced their decision to adhere to the state’s standards despite the prospect of weaker federal requirements.

That decision reportedly angered President Trump so much that he considered abandoning the whole effort in order to punish the automakers, leaving them with the stricter Obama-era standards, the New York Times reported in August.

Instead, he decided to punish both them and California by pressing forward with the federal rollback while also proposing to take away California’s unique authority. He announced his decision on twitter. The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER. This will lead to more production because of this pricing and safety......

California’s Attorney General has vowed to sue. Legal experts say that the battle could ultimately find itself before the Supreme Court, and the outcome would have broad and far-reaching implications. If the Trump administration prevailed, it could take away states’ ability to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.

The Trump administration is facing a ticking clock – they’d want the case to reach the Supreme Court before the 2020 election because if Trump loses, the deregulatory effort would presumably be killed by a Democratic president.

Related: Saudi Aramco: We Never Asked Iraq For Extra Oil

But Trump’s dirty car campaign is not popular. A Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 66 percent of Americans oppose Trump’s plan to water-down fuel efficiency standards, and 67 support state governments being allowed to set their own stricter standards.

Meanwhile, another prong of the Trump administration’s attack on fuel economy standards came from the U.S. Justice Department, which opened an antitrust inquiry earlier this month into the four automakers that cut a deal with California – Ford, Honda, BMW and VW. The Trump administration accuses them of colluding, while environmental groups and California officials view the move as an abuse of power – the use of the Justice Department as a way of scaring automakers into backing down. The move may have already scared away other automakers from joining the California pact.

The move comes as the EPA’s effort to set its own weaker federal standards has fallen into disarray. The New York Times reported in August that some technical experts at the EPA involved in writing the new weaker rules left the agency. The agency says that its formal proposal will be released by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, it’s hard not to notice the odd timing of fuel economy rollback. It comes the same week that the global oil market is wondering about the security of global supply. The world seems poised to have dodged a major bullet with Saudi Arabia scrambling to make repairs to the Abqaiq facility, which may prevent a sustained price spike. Trump took to twitter to boast about how the U.S. doesn’t need oil from the Middle East, but that misses the fact that an oil price spike would affect drivers everywhere.

In that context, a ratcheting up of fuel economy standards is one of the more powerful tools the U.S. government can deploy for energy security. “The best way to insulate drivers from inevitable oil price shocks is to reduce how much oil we use in the first place. In this light, the Trump administration’s decision to roll back fuel-economy standards is also misguided,” Jason Bordoff of Columbia University wrote in Foreign Policy.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Soundminded Citizen on September 19 2019 said:
    Trump’s dirty car, wrong definition. Those so-called "cleaner car" are way dirtier before even travel one mile, during manufacture stage. Then leave no recyclable waste battery material poison generation to come. Consume valuable electricity power which we don't have. The so-called clean power doing exactly the same thing hard to make, impossible to recycle and extremely harmful to the environment.

    The fact all logical person would prefer the Trump's cleaner vehicle any day of the week. In fact the American public should establish a standard to limit the amount of toxic material allow to be used for any product with mass production. That will lead to REAL clean cars, not the once FAKER obama implemented.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News