Trump's Last-Minute Favor To Automakers Challenged In Court

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A total of 15 states have just sued the feds.

The ongoing battle between the auto industry and several US states continues with a newly filed lawsuit. A total of 15 US states, including California and New York, have filed a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over a last-minute agreement it made last month with automakers, according to Reuters.

This was done in the last few days of the Trump administration where the two parties agreed to delay the start of higher penalties those automakers will face if they fail to meet fuel efficiency requirements. The NHTSA agreed to not only reduce the pressure on automakers but also save them up to $1 billion annually. The states aren't the only ones suing the feds over this issue. The Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council filed suit last month.

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The US Department of Transportation, which oversees the NHTSA, said in response it is "reviewing this and other recent rules for consistency with the environmental, equity and other policy directions of this new Administration." The Biden administration has already clearly signaled its intention to promote electric vehicles and green energy projects.

Automakers were keen to score an agreement with the old administration because fines of this nature are anything but cheap. Fiat Chrysler, now Stellantis, for example, was forced to pay a combined $156.3 million civil penalty for failing to meet fuel economy requirements in 2016 and 2017. California has been leading the charge (no pun intended) for a passenger vehicle emissions-free future.

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Last year, it announced plans to ban sales of new ICE vehicles beginning in 2035 when Governor Gavin Newsom signed the executive order on the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E. This resulted in a feud with the Trump administration which threatened to sue. But things have changed dramatically in only a few short weeks.

General Motors announced in late January plans to eliminate tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles by 2035. Jaguar will do the same by 2025 and other major automakers are sure to follow. There's now a far greater chance these states will achieve their goals, or most of them, thanks to this new EV momentum and the Biden White House.

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Source Credits: Reuters

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