On Friday, September 28, 2018 the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) stated that automakers that wish to sell vehicles in California still need to comply with the state’s stricter fuel economy rules. The ARB voted to affirm the “deemed to comply” provision of a key greenhouse gas regulation adopted in California in 2012 to ensure strong standards through 2025 and beyond.

In August, the federal government promised a massive and unfounded rollback of Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions standards. The US EPA said it would prefer to freeze the greenhouse gas standards for model year 2021-26 vehicles at 2020 levels, rejecting the Obama administration’s approach of escalating stringency. Prior to this, California and 16 other states sued the US EPA in May asking the DC Circuit to review the federal agency’s decision to withdraw the Obama administration’s evaluation.

In light of US EPA’s agenda, the ARB will continue to push for a single national program with high fuel economy and emissions standards, but the ARB will not hesitate to go it alone if the national regulations change.