| September 06, 2019 11:55 AM
The Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into Ford, BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen to determine whether the automakers broke federal competition laws when collaborating with California officials on vehicle-emissions standards, according to a new report.
The federal investigation comes amid Trump administration efforts to roll back fuel efficiency standards. Obama-era rules set anindustry-wide goalfor vehicle fleets of roughly 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, but the Department of Transportation hasproposed freezingfuel economy standards at roughly 37 miles per gallon.
Ford, BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen announced in July that they’d worked together alongside the California Air Resources Board and agreed to a regulatory framework which would set fuel economy standards at roughly 51 miles per gallon by 2026, very close to Obama-era standards and vastly differently than what the Trump administration desired.
“These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” the automakers said in ajoint statementin July.
California GovernorGavin Newsom celebrated the deal earlier this summertoo.
“I now call on the rest of the auto industry to join us, and for the Trump administration to adopt this pragmatic compromise instead of pursuing its regressive rule change,” Newsom said. “It’s the right thing for our economy, our people, and our planet.”
But Michael Abboud, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, said in July that “the Trump Administration is pursuing one national standard and certainty for the entire auto market that will provide safe, affordable vehicles for consumers while also improving environmental outcomes.” And hecalled the dealbetween the automakers and California “a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”
The Justice Department declined theWashington Examiner‘s request for comment.