California Counters Trump's Car Emissions Rollback With a New Plan

(Bloomberg) -- California has countered President’s Donald Trump’s proposed rollback of fuel economy and greenhouse gas requirements for cars and trucks, according to Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wheeler, speaking to reporters at an event at EPA headquarters in Washington, didn’t provide details of the California offer. Wheeler said the plan was laid out in discussions Tuesday but he had not yet been fully briefed by his staff on its contents. He said he understood the discussions were “positive.”

“As I’ve said all along, we want a 50-state solution,” he said.

Mary Nichols, head of the state’s Air Resources Board, was scheduled to present the plan to Trump administration officials in a teleconference Tuesday. California officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the proposal.

On Aug. 2, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed capping federal fuel economy requirements at a fleet average of 37 miles per gallon starting in 2020. Under current Obama-era mandates, the average would have continued rising, to about 47 mpg by 2025.

The agencies also proposed revoking California’s authority to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and mandate the sale of electric cars.

But on Aug. 29, at the urging of automakers anxious to avoid lawsuits and the fracturing of the U.S. auto market, the White House and California announced “a shared goal” of a single standard that would apply nationwide.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.