On May 13, 2022, EMA joined others in the liquid fuel supply chain in challenging a March 14, 2022, decision by the Biden Administration to reinstate California’s waiver for its Advanced Clean Car program.
The Biden EPA waiver would restore the State of California’s authority to set and enforce more stringent standards than the federal government for greenhouse gas emissions and its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The Clean Air Act (CAA) establishes federal regulation of motor vehicle emission standards and preempts state standards. However, the CAA gives California the ability to seek special treatment through a waiver of federal preemption. The CAA also allows other states to adopt California’s standards as seventeen states and the District of Columbia have done.
Under the Trump Administration, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a joint rulemaking that resulted in a withdrawal of a preexisting waiver granted to California in 2013, which the Biden Administration has now acted to restore. The Trump Administration’s goal was to have “One National Program” (for fuel efficiency and GHG emission standards) to put cleaner internal combustion engines (ICEs) and electric vehicles (EVs) on a level playing field. In restoring the California waiver by the Biden Administration, California will continue to mandate EVs to the detriment of cleaner greener liquid fuels and likely put small business energy marketers out of business.