A War Is Brewing Between The EPA, CARB, And The Auto Industry

Earlier this week, we celebrated April Fools’ day (and, by default, Easter Sunday!) by messing with our readers. We published a rather convincing article which led them (you) to believe that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) had plans to ban all turbochargers on gasoline-powered engines. While it was obviously a joke given the date, the irony of it all is that it might not be too far from the truth.

Since the Obama-era, the EPA has waged a constant war against the auto industry in a battle to boost fuel economy and eliminate greenhouse gases, going as far as having the 44th President of the United States enact a bill which pertains to such. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations demand that a manufacturer’s average fuel economy for its current offerings average out to a certain fuel mileage determined by the EPA. Those standards are currently set at 41 mpg average by 2021

Currently, that war may be coming to a halt for the time being. According to Automotive News, the EPA has called for a ‘time out’ in an effort to resolve stringent regulations which they feel the auto industry is not equipped to meet. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt called for action last Monday in regard to the mandated post-Obama-era ruling, stating that the proposed emissions limits were “not appropriate.” Scott is referring to the aggressive light-vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions limits expected for 2022-2025 model years, which may require some vehicles to get as much as 60 mpg just four years from now.

Moreover, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will work together to produce a joint proposal which will offer the auto industry a handful of options. As AN notes, the proposal will result in “…either lowered emission targets, extended deadlines or will offer companies more flexibility to gain and apply credits for past performance toward future goals.”

You might be asking yourself, “What does this mean for me?” Hopefully, we can provide you some insight and some food for thought. For car enthusiasts like us, it makes us question what the future will entail for production cars and their performance capabilities post-2020. We’re all hotrodders at heart, so in our humble opinion, we don’t believe politics belong in cars.

That said, we are unfortunately already there, and states like California, with its already stringent regulations on road-going vehicles, have already placed their hand in the cookie jar. Some believe California will become the nation’s leading standard, but that would mean it would have to supersede the federal government’s standards, first.

Coming soon to a town near you…

The possibility of California trying to set its own standards independent of the federal government is such a problem, in fact, that the EPA is actively evaluating whether it should “revoke California’s waiver to set its own emissions rules if it doesn’t cooperate,” according to AN. One of the public’s largest concerns is that of the overall car buying experience. “Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Scott said. “The EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford.”

However, the public is still asking themselves, is that what they want?

“If automakers cannot produce the cars people want to buy at prices they can afford, that will quickly have an adverse impact on the auto industry, its workers, and even the environment as older, less-efficient cars will remain on our roadways. That is why we need reasonable and achievable improvements in fuel economy, and this determination is a step in the right direction.”

What is your opinion on the matter? To read the article in its full context, take a look at Automotive News’ original piece here.

About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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