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Industry > Green

Here’s the problem with a petulant, vindictive president

Donald Trump wants California to inhale lots of toxic car fumes again

Dude is easily offended. Treat him like a kid. PHOTO FROM DONALD TRUMP

Ever since assuming office, United States President Donald Trump has nurtured a culture of immature vindictiveness the likes of which humankind has never seen. On Twitter and in person, this man has routinely called critics—even female ones—“stupid,” “fat,” “failing,” “fake news,” “loser” and other similarly disparaging words no public official should ever utter before a small crowd, let alone on national television. What kind of president would actually trade barbs with basketball players and late-night show comedians over some not-so-flattering comment?

But that’s the world we (or the Americans, specifically) live in right now. Displease or disagree with Trump and you’ll likely catch his ire. It doesn’t matter if you’re as big as China or as small as Mika Brzezinski: If you rub the Leader of the Free World the wrong way, you’re going to get it.

One US state that has a running beef with Trump is California, the most populous territory in America with about 40 million people. California is a traditionally democratic state. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump got only 32% of its votes, a paltry number compared with Hillary Clinton’s 62%. That lopsided outcome particularly stung for Trump as the state carried the most number of electoral votes (55), and could have easily cost him the victory (he did lose the popular vote as a result).

Not only did California emphatically reject Trump during the presidential election, the state has consistently opposed him and his plans as president, including his policies on immigrants, homelessness and the idiotic border wall. But perhaps the most prominent ring in which California and Trump have been sparring is the issue of climate change. You see, while the Golden State is widely recognized as the most progressive US state in terms of protecting the environment, Trump doesn’t even believe in global warming. And so you have one civil government backed up by leading scientists in one corner, and a petulant social-media whiner backed up by imps Kanye West in another.

Californians want to breathe cleaner air. Why force them to buy and drive dirtier cars? PHOTO FROM VISIT CALIFORNIA

And now comes this appalling news: Donald Trump is using the power of his office to strip California of its authority to set its own car-emissions standards. In case you didn’t know, California has stricter rules on automotive exhaust-gas emissions compared with other US states—a privilege granted to it by the 1970 Clean Air Act. This was born of a desire among Californians to breathe less polluted air, which is every human being’s inherent right.

Thanks to the above-mentioned special concession, California has been able to require fuel-economy ratings that are higher than the national figures—the less fuel gets burned, the less toxicity is released into the air—making the state a haven for green cars. The Toyota Prius, for one, became fashionable to drive there. It is estimated that more than half-a-million electric vehicles are presently running all over California.

Imagine having a president who’d rather poison the populace in the name of cheaper motor vehicles

But that may now effectively come to a halt, as the country’s Environmental Protection Agency has announced that California’s special auto-emissions authority will be repealed in an ostensible attempt to establish a single national fuel-economy policy and thus aid the car industry in lowering vehicle prices. Right now, car companies are forced to essentially produce two sets of products across the US—one for California and the few other states that follow its lead, and another for the rest of the nation.

Here’s a tweet by Trump on the matter:

The Obama administration had sought to compel automakers to manufacture vehicles (for sale in the US) with an average fuel economy of 23.2km/L by 2025. Trump, presumably out of spite, wanted to roll it back all the way to 15.7km/L—a figure so alarmingly low that four car firms (BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen) held secret talks with California officials to agree on and settle for a more reasonable 21.7km/L. Word has it that more automotive brands will step forward and join the pact with California.

Good thing those in charge of California’s government aren’t scared of Trump. Here’s the reply of the state’s governor:

The more we learn about this issue, the more it becomes abundantly clear that Donald Trump is a vindictive person who doesn’t really care about leading as much as he does about stroking his “huge” and “tremendous” (two of his favorite adjectives) ego. Imagine having a president who’d rather poison the populace in the name of cheaper cars. Of course, members of the affected demographic only happen to be his detractors, too. We’re sure it’s just a coincidence.

Good luck, America. (And good luck, Earth.)



Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 24 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. The rest, as they say, is rock and roll. He writes the column ‘Spoiler’.



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