Court hands California a win over vehicle emission rules

California had its vehicle emission rules revoked in 2019 under President Trump before President Biden reversed that decision.

A federal court has upheld California’s authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards, despite attempts by several Republican-led states to revoke this authority.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the states challenging California’s emissions standards failed to prove how they would drive up costs for gas-powered vehicles in their states.


The big picture: The legal battle dates back to 2019 when the Trump administration had revoked California’s ability to enforce its own emissions standards, a decision that was later reversed by President Biden.

  • The court’s decision is particularly important as it allows California to continue seeking a waiver from the EPA to set its own vehicle emission regulations, which are often adopted by other states if approved by the federal government.
  • California is also pushing for a waiver to ban the sale of all new gas-powered cars by 2035 and has garnered support from major automakers such as Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen.

What they’re saying: California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the ruling, saying it reaffirms the state’s ability to fight against vehicle emissions. 

  • “The clean vehicle transition is already here – it’s where the industry is going, the major automakers support our standards, and California is hitting our goals years ahead of schedule,” Newsom said in a statement. “We won’t stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis.”
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