Federal court blocks attempt to revoke California's authority to set vehicle standards: 'Major automakers support our standards'


In a win for clean energy, a federal court ruled that California can continue setting its own vehicle emissions standards.

PBS reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blocked an attempt by several other states to take down California’s nation-leading standards in a long-running partisan battle over environmental regulations.

California has been allowed to set its own emissions standards since the early 1970s due to the so-called California Waver — granted to the state because of its huge number of cars on the road and difficulty meeting air quality requirements. Other states can follow California’s more stringent standards or adhere to federal standards.

In 2019, the Trump administration revoked the California Waver. However, the Biden Administration later reinstated it. As a result, several Republican-led states, including Ohio, Alabama, and Texas, sued to revoke the waver again.

The ruling of the federal court told those states, essentially, to mind their own business.

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,” California Governor Gavin Newsome said in a statement. “We won’t stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis.”

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California has moved aggressively in recent years to advance the pace of electric vehicles replacing traditional gas-powered cars. The state’s Air Resources Board passed regulations in 2022 that require all new vehicles sold to be electric, hydrogen-fueled, or plug-in hybrid by 2035.

The state has also rolled out a “suite of incentives” for new EV purchasers.

The Board has also lobbied to more heavily regulate gas-powered lawn equipment, which produces an astonishing amount of air pollution.

Though there are some misconceptions about battery-electric vehicles being equally as harmful to the planet as gas-powered cars, the reality is that EVs produce far less air pollution and planet-overheating gases. That means that California’s policies are going to make its air much healthier to breathe, and if other states follow suit, they can reap the same benefits.

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