A federal court ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to delay implementing stricter penalties on automakers that violate vehicle fuel efficiency standards. On Monday, the U.S. Court of Apeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the current Obama-era Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets will remain in place.
“Americans will breathe easier because the court undid the Trump administration’s bizarre attempt to encourage toxic tailpipe pollution,” Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “Cheap fines incentivize automakers to produce gas-guzzlers that fuel climate change and spew harmful pollutants. Reinstating proper penalties will help protect our kids’ lungs and our planet’s future.”
The court’s ruling upheld the higher fine currently in place for automakers who manufacture “gas guzzlers,” EcoWatch reported, and denied the Department of Transportation from making the change. The fine goes from “$5.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon to $14 per tenth of a mile per gallon of fuel a vehicle guzzles beyond the standards.” Since the rule is still in effect, automakers are still subject to the fine.
According to The Truth About Cars, plaintiffs who brought the suit against the Trump administration included the State of New York, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Vermont – as well as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, and the Center for Biological Diversity. Those groups collectively filed a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA acting Deputy Administrator Jack Danielson, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
In a statement from the National Resources Defense Council, the organization hailed the court’s recent decision as the right decision.
“The updated penalty impels automakers to clean up their fleets, rather than offering them a cheap license to burn more gas if they fail to keep pace with fuel economy targets,” Irene Gutierrez, the council’s Clean Energy Attorney, said.