Tesla Presses U.S. Court to Reinstate High Emissions Penalties

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Following the Trump administration’s removal of high emissions penalties put in place by the Obama administration, Tesla is calling on a U.S. appeals court to reinstate the regulation, which would more than double penalties for auto manufacturers failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements, according to Reuters.

On January 14, before President Joe Biden took office, Trump delayed the start of the heightened penalties to 2022, with Tesla firing back to the court that Trump’s action was “unlawful,” and “diminishes the value of performance-based incentives that electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, such as Tesla, accrue under the standards.”

While President Biden supports tougher standards on vehicle emissions, the administration opposes Tesla’s appeal, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is actively reviewing Trump’s action on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) infractions, and plans to have its review finished in the next six months.

In a filing Monday, Tesla said the government’s position that the change caused no immediate harm to Tesla “ignores the ongoing impacts” on the auto industry’s credit-rating market. While this notion was rejected by the Justice Department, it also stated that the NHTSA has yet to assess CAFE penalties for 2018 or 2019 yet, further emphasizing the need to continue research.

The NHTSA has a number of EV-related initiatives happening simultaneously, including a pledge to help make EV batteries safer.

Just last month, the NHTSA was sued by 15 states for delaying the adoption of higher penalties, alongside similar lawsuits from companies like The Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council.

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