Four major automakers have reached a voluntary agreement with the State of California to stick to the state’s fuel efficiency and emissions standards.
Automakers that agreed to stay with the framework are Ford, Honda, BMW of North America, and Volkswagen Group of America. The deal will see these automakers supporting continued annual reductions of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions through the 2026 model year and agreeing to only sell cars in the U.S. that meet these standards.
The Trump administration has said in the past that it intends to roll back emissions standard for light-duty cars and trucks. Although only four automakers have pledged support for California’s standards, combined they account for a sizeable portion of all cars sold in the U.S.
Under the framework, gasoline and diesel cars and light trucks will get cleaner through 2026 at about the same rate as the current program. It also supports a national program that will result in at least 30% more greenhouse gas emission reductions compared to splitting up the standards between those followed by California and 13 other states and the less stringent standards proposed by the Trump administration.
The deal would also include support for electric vehicle development as well as other emissions reducing technologies.
According to the California Air Resources Board, the Trump Administration is preparing to roll back federal vehicle emissions standards, effectively freezing them at the 2020 level through the 2026 model year.
The recently agreed upon California deal would actually be a slightly relaxed version of the Obama Administration’s original plan, extending the current 2025 model year standard until 2026 and smoothing out the interim years from 2022 through 2025 to provide additional lead time and slightly less aggressive year-over-year reductions. It changes the original year-over-year 4.7% GHG reduction over four years to 3.7% over five years.
“This agreement represents a feasible and acceptable path to accomplishing the goals of California and the automobile industry,” said Mary Nichols, CARB chair. “If the White House does not agree, we will move forward with our current standards, but work with individual carmakers to implement these principles. At the same time, if the current federal vehicle standards proposal is finalized, we will continue to enforce our regulations and pursue legal challenges to the federal rule.”