California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols told Reuters this month that the state`s emissions agreement with automakers could serve as a “good model” for federal standards. Other major automakers such as General Motors Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Toyota Motor Corp did not sign up to the California agreement. SACRAMENTO – As the Trump administration prepares to reduce emissions standards for trucks and light trucks, a consortium of automakers and California has agreed on a voluntary emissions reduction framework that could serve as an alternative solution for clean vehicle standards across the country. The automakers that approved the framework are Manufacturers Ford, Honda, BMW North America and Volkswagen Group of America. Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington-based nonprofit group, says the agreement between California and automakers should be stricter. “If these standards allow all of these loopholes, it`s not clear that California will create the strict standards we need to protect the climate and health of Californians,” Becker told NPR. The conditions of the framework will bring the same greenhouse gas reductions within five years that Obama`s initial standards would have reached in four years. This allows California and other states to meet their climate and air goals and maintains a national approach for participating automakers who will sell these cleaner cars across the country. The framework also supports the long-term electrification goals of California and automakers. And since the agreement extends beyond California`s borders, the impact could be considerable.
Thirteen other states follow California`s state standards and have agreed to implement the new agreement. The fate of separate standards should be decided by the Supreme Court, which will most likely rule on a multi-state action to null and void the Trump administration`s federal rule or, at the very least, to retain state authority to set stricter rules. Terms negotiated with BMW (including Rolls-Royce), Ford, Honda, Volvo and the Volkswagen Group (including Audi) – six automakers, as California has counted – are seen as a compromise. They are more lenient than what was originally requested by the state, but stricter than the new EPA rule. Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Council, said the agreement had achieved “continued annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while saving money for consumers.” As the battle for miles of fuel unfolds in Washington, D.C, Young said in a telephone interview that there is still time for other automakers to come to the negotiating table: “We are very open to further discussions.” Under the California agreement, automakers, which together account for about 30% of the U.S. auto market, must increase their average fuel consumption from about 38 miles per gallon today to about 51 miles per gallon by 2026.