Science

Calif. skirts Trump, signs mileage deal with 4 automakers

Calif. skirts Trump, signs mileage deal with 4 automakers”

"What we have here is a statement of principles meant to reach out to the federal government to move them off the track that they seem to be on and onto a more constructive track", Nichols told The Washington Post. The greenhouse gas deal, which affects new vehicle sales through 2026, is being viewed as a rebuke of the Trump administration's planned emissions and fuel economy rollbacks for the auto industry.

California negotiated the agreement with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW in secret, and said it provided a 50-state solution that would avoid a patchwork of regulations from arising across the country.

"Ensuring that America's vehicles are efficient, safe and affordable is a priority for us all", the automakers said in a joint statement that described the accord with California as a move to maintain a nationwide set of fuel efficiency requirements.

The compromise with California gives participating automakers some relief starting in model year 2022 by easing the pace of annual efficiency gains now required under the California Air Resources Board's regulations on tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions, and extends the program by one year through 2026. She said the companies sought regulatory certainty and had agreed not to legally challenge California's vehicle regulatory authority.

The deal is a major rebuke to the Trump administration's efforts to unravel Obama-era auto regulations.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents a dozen automakers in and out of the California deal, said in a statement that the industry still wants nationwide standards with year-over-year mileage increases that fit with what people are now buying - SUVs and trucks.

A spokesperson for the EPA described the voluntary framework as "a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers".

Both the administration and the automakers' lobbying groups have argued since the start of the rollback that, by setting higher standards than the federal government, California could bifurcate the USA market.

Up to this point, the current administration has indicated a desire to jam its new policy down the throat of California and the other 13 states that follow is emission rules. But the other 49 states can choose to adopt California's stricter standards instead of the federal guideline, and at least 16 states have said they will back California's emissions standard rather than support the federal rollback. The Sierra Club said "in the face of a total abdication of duties by the Trump administration, today's announcement is a positive step forward".

Aside from extending credits for building electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel vehicles, the deal also hikes the cap for winning credits for fuel efficiency improvements not captured by traditional testing. Experts have said that the Trump administration's effort to roll back fuel-efficiency standards could deliver one of the biggest blows to the nation's effort to reduce emissions. "At the end of the day, this deal doesn't matter because we don't see a situation where California wins in court".

On June 6, 17 major automakers wrote a letter to President Donald Trump and California Governor Gavin Newsom seeking to revive talks and urging a compromise "midway" between both sides to avoid "an extended period of litigation and instability".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which draws up federal standards with the Environmental Protection Agency, said the government continues to work on a final fuel economy rule that will apply to all automakers.

Some of the largest automakers in the USA have banded together with California-to set an example for the EPA and its long-stalled emissions and fuel economy revamp. For the automakers, it's not much different from how they were preparing to meet the Obama administration standards, he said.

Alan Baum, a Detroit-area consultant who does work for the auto industry and environmental groups, said the deal is clearly created to get the rest of the auto industry on board and to force the Trump administration to the bargaining table with California.



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