April 13, 2021
Group representing Toyota, Hyundai abandons lawsuit challenging CA regulations

Group representing Toyota, Hyundai abandons lawsuit challenging CA regulations


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It looks like the auto industry is falling in line.


Pasadena Star News/Getty Images

Support for the former Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging California’s ability to set its own fuel economy and emissions regulations continues to crumble, as the Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation said it’s withdrawing from the litigation in a Tuesday statement.

“We are aligned with the Biden administration’s goals to achieve year-over-year improvements in fuel economy standards that provide meaningful climate and national energy security benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote advanced technologies,” CSAR said. “In a gesture of good faith and to find a constructive path forward, the CSAR has decided to withdraw from this lawsuit in order to unify the auto industry behind a single national program, with ambitious, achievable standards.”

CSAR represents numerous automakers, but most notably includes Toyota, Stellantis (previously Fiat Chrysler), Hyundai, Mazda and Subaru. These automakers formed one camp as the fight over California’s rights to set regulations unfolded in 2019. General Motors also notably backed the Trump administration’s legal challenge. In November 2020, GM dropped its support for the lawsuit, and called on other automakers to follow its lead.

A Hyundai spokesperson told Roadshow the automaker still supports a single national fuel economy structure that provides fuel efficiency increases, but, “We believe the Biden administration has outlined a clear plan to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions.” A Mazda spokesperson said the company “supports establishing a revised, single national fuel economy program that achieves GHG emissions improvements and provides for a balance of environmental progress, safety, affordability, innovation and jobs” and said it looks forward to working with the Biden administration.

Stellantis referred Roadshow to CSAR’s statement and declined to comment further, as did Toyota. Subaru didn’t immediately return a request for comment following the coalition’s statement. 

On the other side of the legal fight were Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Honda. These automakers sided with California and signed on to a voluntary fuel economy and emissions pact with the state. While the voluntary agreement didn’t go as far as previous Obama administration-era regulations for fuel economy, it far surpassed the current regulations the Trump administration imposed in the spring of 2020. President Biden said during the 2020 campaign that his administration would revisit these regulations, and his administration has already charted new climate goals and plans to support EVs.

It’s not clear when the Biden administration aims to tackle fuel economy and emissions standards, though Ford already proposed the voluntary California agreement as a template to perhaps formally create a single, nationwide standard for all automakers to adhere to.


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