Court Rules in Favor of California Landmark Greenhouse Gas Standards for Cars

The U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a legal attack on California’s landmark greenhouse gas standards for new cars built in model years 2012-16. 

The National Automobile Dealers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sought to overturn EPA’s waiver which allowed California to set its own greenhouse gas standards. 

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted California the waiver in June 2009, reversing the Bush Administation appointee’s  unprecedented attempt to block California’s program.   

The appeals court ruled that neither NADA nor the Chamber had demonstrated injury necessary to support their standing.  NADA had submitted standing affidavits from two dealers that the Court found failed to prove they are suffering any economic injuries.  The Chamber – which stridently opposes all of EPA’s steps to safeguard Americans from pollution – demonstrated no injury at all.

The standards have been adopted in 13 additional states and the District of Columbia.

In 2009, President Obama announced a Clean Car Peace Treaty bringing automobile manufacturers, auto workers, states, and environmentalists together around a set of national greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards based on California’s example. 

The clean car accord will cut new vehicle carbon pollution by 30%, reduce U.S. oil use by 1.8 billion barrels, and save new car buyers $3000 at the gas pump.  Consumer savings – calculated when gas cost only $2.61/gallon – will actually be much larger at today’s gas prices. 

Still, the dealer association and the Chamber are planning another lawsuit, which is also bound to fail.

California, the EPA and Dept of Transportation are now looking toward the next set of standards to cover 2016-2025. Environmental NGOs want them to raise fuel economy in the next round to 60 miles per gallon and 40% cuts in carbon pollution.

"Strong clean car standards will not only provide better choices to consumers, but will also save American families money at the pump, reduce life-threatening pollution, create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and move our nation forward, Beyond Oil," said Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club’s Green Transportation Campaign.

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