California’s Backseat Drivers

America’s auto makers have complained for years about onerous fuel-economy mandates, but now they seem to be suffering Stockholm Syndrome. Witness their opposition to the Trump Administration’s efforts to liberate them and the country from the Obama mileage and California’s electric-car mandates.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department are finalizing revised corporate average fuel-economy (Cafe) standards for 2021 to 2026. During its waning days, the Obama Administration reaffirmed its 2012 mandate that auto makers hit a fleetwide average of 54 miles per gallon by 2025.

The car companies had rightly complained that these targets were costly and unrealistic. SUVs and trucks now comprise about two-thirds of vehicle sales, up from about half in 2012 when the standards were first set. Low-emission engine and transmission technologies have sputtered, and all but three large car makers failed to meet this year’s mileage mandate.

Enter the Trump Administration, which last year proposed freezing the 2020 target of 37 miles per gallon while eliminating credits that companies can bank for electric cars, air conditioning leakage systems and other “advanced” technologies. Most auto makers are rolling over credits from prior years to comply with the current standards.

Click here to read more of the this Wall Street Journal article by the Editorial Board.