The Justice Department launched an antitrust probe on Sept. 6 to investigate whether the four automakers who voluntarily agreed to abide by California’s fuel emissions standards are violating federal competition law.
Lawyers will look into the actions Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, and BMW AG made in July when they announced that they would design their vehicles to meet the standards set in California, despite the Trump administration making efforts to roll back on national standards established during the Obama administration.
“The state has legal exemptions to set standards higher than the federal government’s and arrangements from about a dozen other states to follow those rules,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “That territory accounted for one-third of overall U.S. auto sales last year—giving California’s air regulators wide power over national standards. Many expect the administration’s challenge to that power to become a seminal legal case very possibly headed to the Supreme Court.”