Court Rejects Tesla’s Request For Tougher Fuel Economy Penalties

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A US appeals court rejected Tesla’s request to reinstate higher civil penalties for automakers who fail to meet US fuel economy standards, Reuters has reported. In April, the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals rejected Tesla’s request for immediate action pending a review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In August, Tesla asked the court again to take action. Last week, the court rejected Tesla’s request — a win for automakers that don’t meet US fuel economy standards (requirements).

Tesla has been criticized before for selling credits to other automakers. Tesla sells the credits to help these automakers meet government vehicle emissions requirements, but has noted that these credits are not as valuable due to changes in rules made by the Trump administration.

Automakers that fail to meet these fuel economy standards have complained that raising the penalties could cost them around $1 billion a year for failing to meet the rules, and could lead to them paying higher prices for credits used to meet the rules. The group of automakers that opposed Tesla’s requests were made up of the so-called EV leader General Motors, Toyota, Ford, and Volkswagen. Note that GM, which only sold 26 EVs in Q4 2021, has been hyped up as the nation’s EV leader by President Biden.

The group told the appeals court, “That Tesla might benefit from more certainty about the worth of the CAFE credits that it has amassed is hardly a reason to cut off an ongoing administrative process.”

Although carbon credits allow companies to “compensate” for their greenhouse gas emissions, I personally don’t see the value. If Company A was to produce 100× greenhouse gasses and bought credits from Tesla to “make up for” those excesses, that wouldn’t erase the greenhouse gases that were produced.

Yes, I know that if Tesla wasn’t here leading the world in EVs, we would have a lot more greenhouse gases than we do. However, I’ve always found the whole carbon credit system a bit confusing — if not fake. And the criticism that I’ve seen aimed at Tesla for selling carbon credits is also a bit fake, in my opinion. The system was not set up by Tesla or for Tesla’s benefit. It was set up to push automakers to try harder, but it clearly isn’t strong enough to get far with that.

In the end, why be critical of Tesla selling the carbon credits to an automaker that made too much greenhouse gas pollution but not be critical of that automaker for making too much greenhouse gas pollution?

Also, you would think that our government leaders would want to enforce their own rules on fuel economy standards. However, the court ruled in favor of the automakers, and that allows automakers to do more harm to this planet.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider