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Automakers warn Trump against emissions freeze, urge California to return to negotiating table

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June 7 (UPI) — Seventeen major automobile manufacturers urged President Donald Trump to establish a national standard for fuel economy and resume talks with California to avoid conflict over emissions regulations.

“What works best for consumers, communities, and the millions of U.S. employees that work in the auto industry is one national standard that is practical, achievable, and consistent across the 50 states,” the automakers said in the letter Thursday. “In addition, our customers expect continuous improvements in safety, efficiency, and capability.”

The car companies, which include Ford Motor, BMW, Honda and Porsche, said they support a universal standard as it achieves on-year improvements in fuel economy and encourages companies to adopt alternative powertrains for their vehicles.

“A broadly supported final rule would provide regulatory certainty and enhance our ability to invest and innovate by avoiding an extended period of litigation and instability,” the companies said.

Last summer, the Trump administration proposed rolling back Obama-era mileage standards that targeted 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, cars would only have to run at 30 miles per gallon.

The Trump administration then ended discussions in February with the California Air Resources Board over the rollback standards, stating CARB “failed to put forward a production alternative,” The Washington Post reported.

California and 16 other states then sued the Trump administration in May to protect the emission standards.

“We strongly believe the best path to preserve good auto jobs and keep new vehicles affordable for more Americans is a final rule supported by all parties – including California,” the companies said, adding “We encourage both the federal government and California to resume discussions and to remain open to regulatory adjustments that provide the flexibility needed to meet future environmental goals and respond to consumer needs.”

A similar letter was sent to California Gov. Gavin Newson urging him to return to the negotiation table with the White House.

They told Gavin that they would prefer a compromise “between the existing standards and the preferred path outlined in the Environment Protection Agency proposal,” which California wants.

The White House said it will continue as it had planned following the breakdown in talks with CARB, Politico reported.

“As we acknowledged earlier this year, CARB failed to put forward a productive alternative, and we are moving forward to finalize a rule with the goal of promoting safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles,” White House spokeswoman Judd said in an emailed statement.

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