Coalition of states seeks to stop think tank lawsuit against fuel efficiency standards

June 3, 2020

A coalition of 20 states led by the attorneys general of California and New York seeks to intervene in a lawsuit brought by a conservative think tank against the Trump administration’s plan to weaken fuel efficiency standards.

The states want to oppose arguments made in a lawsuit brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute that argues the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards did not go far enough.

“We’ll go to the mat to defend our nation’s Clean Car Standards against any illegal dismantling by the Trump administration, including this latest unfounded lawsuit by its transparent allies,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “CEI would like to take America back to the 20th Century. We’re prepared to remind CEI that this is 2020, not 1920.”

The CEI, which says it supports “limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty,” said the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration was right to roll back 2012 fuel economy standards that would force automakers to produce vehicles with a minimum 46.7 miles per gallon standard by 2025.

The CEI opposes the Trump administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient vehicles rule, which would mandate a 1.5% increase in fuel economy standards and carbon dioxide emissions standards every year until 2026, resulting in a 40.4 miles per gallon average fuel economy standard.

“The [NHTSA] was right to roll back the scheduled increases in fuel economy standards, which would have made cars less crashworthy and increased highway fatalities,” said Sam Kazman, CEI general counsel. “But NHTSA should have reduced those standards even more, and perhaps frozen them entirely.”

The states’ request comes after many of the same government entities filed a suit of their own requesting a review of the Trump rule.

Coalition of states seeks to stop think tank lawsuit against fuel efficiency standards