Lyft car. Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM

Lawyers for the ride-hail company Lyft Inc. are lining up against the Trump administration’s moves to weaken car-pollution rules.

A federal appeals court in Washington is weighing a challenge by California and 16 other states to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to roll back emissions standards for cars produced between 2022 and 2025.

San Francisco-based Lyft said in an amicus brief filed Thursday that the EPA was “wrong” in finding that tailpipe standards set during the Obama administration were inappropriate. Lyft, represented by the Washington litigation boutique Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, joined the states in asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to block the EPA’s action.

“Lyft counts on the automotive industry’s innovations in fuel efficiency and electrification to support Lyft’s economic and environmental goals,” Jared Marx, a Harris Wiltshire partner, wrote in the filing. “Efficient vehicles mean more earnings for drivers, cheaper rides for passengers, and a better business for Lyft.”

The ride-hailing company has publicly pledged to make all its rides carbon-neutral and is currently piloting a program that lets customers request trips in only hybrid or electric vehicles. Lyft argues in its brief that it’s relying on the previously adopted emissions rules to compel manufacturers to build those types of cars.

“Lyft must rely on the automotive industry to make fuel-efficient vehicles prevalent and affordable,” the company’s attorneys said. “That will only happen if automakers invest in efficiency-increasing technologies, and that investment is most likely if EPA has future standards on its books today that drive that change.”

Lyft also argued that the EPA cherry-picked facts to conclude that consumers’ interest in electric vehicles has waned while ignoring a spike in electric-car purchases over the last three years.

“EPA also draws a head-scratching conclusion from the effect of the new standards on the availability of new and used vehicles,” the amicus brief said. “EPA worries that more stringent standards may force new car buyers into the used car market, reducing the rate at which efficient vehicles replace less efficient ones. But even if that were to happen (and EPA offers virtually nothing to support its assertion), it ignores the positive effects of the standards on the used car market.”

Lyft’s brief wasn’t the first time the company has jumped into a big-ticket case. The company, with dozens of others, has signed onto briefs challenging the Trump administration’s effort to end protections for so-called “Dreamers.”

California’s opening brief in the vehicle emissions was filed Feb. 7. David Zaft, a deputy in Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, is one of the lead attorneys for the state. California, as a petitioner, was joined by Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, among other jurisdictions.

 

Read Lyft’s brief here:

 

 


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