IIn America, 15 states have sued NHTSA for delaying increases in environmental fines for automakers. The federal agency’s decision in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration could save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.
State attorneys general from New York and California, among others, filed their lawsuit in a federal court on Tuesday. California prosecutor Xavier Becerra said on Twitter that the NHTSA’s decision “cemented Trump’s legacy of prioritizing industry over public health.”
In 2015, under President Barack Obama, Congress ordered the NHTSA to adjust the penalties for cars with poor fuel consumption values to reflect inflation. These had only increased once since 1975 – from $ 5.00 in 1997 to $ 5.50 per 0.1 mile per gallon of high consumption.
As a result, the NHTSA ordered the fine to be increased to $ 14. The Trump administration failed in court in 2019 when it tried to stop this move altogether. In January 2021, the NHTSA agreed, still under Trump, to postpone the increase. According to their own estimates, this could save American automakers up to a billion dollars a year. Environmental groups already sued the decision in January.