The EPA is reinstating the right of the State of California to set automobile fuel efficiency and emissions at a stricter standard than current federal regulations. Sixteen other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia have in recent years adopted in-part or in-whole the standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The right of California to set its own standards was first established in the 1960s as an exception to the Federal Clean Air Act, as California was already in the process of adopting its own statewide regulations. Since that time, California has typically led the nation by adopting stricter standards that are subsequently adopted by other states and eventually become the federal standard. Over the years, the policy was weakened by exempting light trucks and SUVs from the standards. During the Trump administration, the EPA ruled that states could not set standards different from the federal standard.
The Associated Press (AP) quotes EPA Administrator Michael Regan: “Today we proudly reaffirm California’s longstanding authority to lead in addressing pollution from cars and trucks. With today’s action, we reinstate an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.”