The Trump Administration is still in its infancy, but that's not stopping automakers from proposing that it go easy on the fuel efficiency measures imposed by the outgoing Obama White House.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wants Trump to hit the pause button on the midterm evaluation of Obama's 2025 fuel economy and greenhouse rules until the carmakers have a chance to outline "a pathway forward" for the rules.
The Alliance says the rules are a "substantial challenge" beginning in 2017, when increasingly stringent standards begin to go into effect.
“We live at a moment where technology and change are swamping the regulatory capacity to manage our emerging reality. Reform is imperative,” Alliance CEO Mitch Bainwol said in a letter to the Trump transition team, obtained by Automotive News. Trump has said he will review existing regulations that threaten jobs.
Not just mpg
It's not just the fuel efficiency standards that automakers want Trump to review. They're also concerned about the Transportation Department's guidelines for self-driving cars and want Trump to set up a "presidential advisory committee" to oversee the Environmental Protection Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the other agencies that oversee various aspects of the car business.
Bainwol also wants Trump to consider the costs imposed by California's zero-emission vehicle sales mandates, which require that 15 percent of sales in California be zero-emission vehicles like electric- or hydrogen-powered.
“The Administration should engage as appropriate to help address these ZEV issues -- especially to help avoid the creation of a patchwork of requirements that will frustrate the overall intent of the ‘One National Program,’” Bainwol wrote, according to Automotive News.
That argument's not likely to be well-received in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement Thursday saying the nation's most populous state would not back down on environmental protection and climate change issues.
"We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time — devastating climate change," Brown said.
Trump's election has heightened interest in a secession movement that's backed by Silicon Valley tech investor Shervin Pishevar and others. The "Yes California Independence Campaign" is gathering signatures to put a question on the November 2018 ballot that would authorize a statewide independence vote for the spring of 2019.
It would take hundreds of thousands of signatures to put the question on the ballot and millions more to actually authorize the state to pursue secession.
Pishevar argues California could be economically self-sufficient, given the size of its economy.
“As the sixth largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland,” the group said in a statement. “California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.”
There's little legal basis for such an effort. The Constitution outlines the steps taken for new states to be added but does not address any way for states to leave the Union.
The only actual secession effort in American history was, of course, the Civil War, in which a coalition of seven southern states sought to declare their independence. President Abraham Lincoln feared the result of secession would be the crumbling of the United States.
The result was a four-year armed conflict from 1861 to 1865 that cost 625,000 American lives, nearly as many as have died in all other military actions that the U.S. has entered. For those who may have forgotten their history, the Union forces defeated the Confederate States of America, leaving little legal precedent for other secession efforts.