The fight over fuel economy and emission standards continues as California has circumvented the Trump administration by striking a deal with four automakers.
According to the California Air Resources Board, the state has agreed on a voluntary framework with BMW, Honda, Ford and Volkswagen.
Under the terms of the deal, current 2025 model year standards will be extended until 2026. They’ll also “smooth out” the standards between 2022 and 2025 “to provide additional lead time and slightly less aggressive year-over-year reductions.”
California will also reward automakers that sell EVs with additional credits that can be used to meet greenhouse gas standards for their entire fleet. The state will also streamline the review and approval process for new technologies and remove the requirement that caused electric vehicles to be dinged for greenhouse gas emissions related to electricity production.
In a statement, California Governor Gavin Newsom said: “Few issues are more pressing than climate change, a global threat that endangers our lives and livelihoods.” He went on to criticize the Trump administration’s “regressive rule change” and praise automakers for following “smart policies that make the air cleaner and safer for us all.”
The battle between California and the federal government kicked off last year, when the Environmental Protection Agency determined greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger vehicles for the 2022-2025 model years were “not appropriate and should be revised.” Less than a month later, California and 16 other states sued the EPA.
Automakers have been caught in the crossfire as they’re not entirely sure what standards they’ll have to meet in the future. This is a huge problem, because it takes years to develop a vehicle and it’s hard to do so without knowing beforehand what targets you’ll have to meet.
In light of this, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked the government to reach a settlement with California and the other states that are suing the EPA. At the time, the group said “We support standards that increase year over year that also are consistent with marketplace realities.”