Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Cars

Inhofe: California is Dictating to Feds on Auto Fuel Efficiency

The senior Republican on the Senate environment panel has criticized the House transportation bill for strengthening federal involvement at the expense of states -- but when it comes to last year's agreement to raise national fuel-efficiency standards, Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK) is making the opposite argument, accusing the White House of letting one state dictate auto policy.

091109_inhofe_boxer_ap_297.jpgSen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), at left, with environment panel chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Photo: Politico)

Inhofe's office warned in a Friday release that California, the home state of environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D), would continue to ratchet up fuel-efficiency floors for the U.S. auto fleet during talks on how to extend the White House pact beyond 2016. From Inhofe's weekly newsletter:

The problem is California,which sees this deal as a spring board to tougher standards after 2017.California believes it has the authority under the Clean Air Act to setits own GHG standards - and it wants to make them tougher than what thefeds have proposed. This could create the very patchwork the autos wantto avoid. Or it could force yet another deal after 2017 in which theGolden State reigns supreme. ...

We see great merit inreducing dependence on foreign oil and promoting automotive innovationand technology. But we also see, and wish to thwart, the economic bombdropping after 2017, as California seeks to impose its automotivevision on the entire nation. ...

Inhofe's depiction of a national fuel-efficiency (or CAFE) standard driven by California is more than a one-shot rhetorical volley. The auto industry, having backed the White House in fighting congressional efforts to limit federal authority on emissions, is already looking to 2017 and the next round of negotiations over CAFE policy.

Consumer groups have reported that last year's agreement to raise CAFE standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 could have imposed even stronger emissions limits while lowering gas bills for drivers and overall public health costs.

But Inhofe's fiery denunciation of that CAFE rule -- which he depicts as lacking a "legal basis" and being "a launching pad to realize
California's green vision writ large" -- portends a stronger push to weaken the terms of the administration's sequel on fuel standards. Stay tuned ...

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

What a Surprise! Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause Helps Rich Suburban Drivers

Gov. Hochul's "little guys" certainly have big wallets. Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer with declining subway service and buses that are slower than walking. Thanks, Kathy.

July 22, 2024

Philadelphia Demands More Than ‘Flex-Post’ Protected Bike Lanes After Motorist Kills Cyclist

Pediatric oncologist Barbara Friedes was struck while biking on a "protected" path. Now, advocates are arguing that flex posts should be replaced with something far better.

July 22, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Switch Tracks

President Joe Biden dropped out of the race Sunday and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. So what does this mean for transportation?

July 22, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Go Back to the Future

If you liked the first Trump administration's transportation policies, you're going to love the second Trump administration's transportation policies.

July 19, 2024

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024
See all posts