The U.S. House Judiciary Committee plans to hold hearings and seek documents related to the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into four major automakers’ agreement with California to adopt the state’s compromise vehicle emissions requirements.
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Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the House Judiciary chairman, and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who chairs an antitrust subcommittee, said in a statement Monday that the probe of Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen “is only the latest in a profoundly troubling pattern of abuse of power that has flourished under the Trump presidency.”
In July, the four automakers inked a deal with California to abide by the state’s vehicle rules, which happen to contradict a White House plan to strip the state of that right.
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The Trump administration in August 2018 proposed rescinding California’s legal right to impose its own state emissions standards or mandate a rising number of electric cars. It argued that federal law should preempt California from setting its own standards.
The President Obama-era rules, set in 2012, called for a fuel efficiency average of 46.7 miles-per-gallon by 2025, increasing annually by five percent. That’s compared to the 37 miles-per-gallon by 2026 under the Trump administration’s preferred option, according to Reuters.
Under the automakers’ deal with California, the stringency of the requirements would increase nationally by 3.7 percent each year, starting in 2022 and going through 2026.
“Ensuring that America’s vehicles are efficient, safe and affordable is a priority for us all,” the automakers said in a statement. “These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”