This Note discusses the legal implications of California’s Advanced Clean Cars II vehicle-emissions standards. These standards, which would affect vehicle model years 2026 through 2035, seek to eliminate the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of only selling electric, zero-emission vehicles. In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia v. EPA, this type of “generation-shifting” plan stands on broken ground due to the applicability of the Major Questions Doctrine. The agency action here—EPA approval of a Clean Air Act §7543 waiver—is exactly the type of “extraordinary case” that the Court must strike down in order to ensure the separation of powers and protect Congress’ policy-making authority from administrative overreach. Further, such an action by the EPA would violate the scope of the agency’s authority as already outlined by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Massachusetts v. EPA. This Note recommends that California, and ultimately all states, look to alternative ways to reach climate-change goals; one such way being the implementation of a sin tax on the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles. By enacting a more creative solution to reducing vehicle emissions, states can avoid the significant legal concerns and, more importantly, reduce their carbon footprint to reach their climate change goals.
Putting the Brakes on California's Emissions Standards: An Analysis of the Legal Challenges California's Advanced Clean Cars II Standards Will Face,
72 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol72/iss1/11