California Strikes Emissions Deal With Major Carmakers, Other U.S. States Follow Suit

Morning commuters travel the 210 freeway between Los Angeles and cities to the east on December 1, 2009 near Pasadena, California.
David McNew / Getty Images

California is one state moving forward to enact stricter car emissions standards, despite the Trump administration rolling back Obama-era federal rules on emissions, reported the BBC.

Previous attempts by California to impose its own state emissions standards that are stricter than federal standards have resulted in the federal government attempting to revoke the state’s right to do so. However, a reportedly secret negotiation with carmakers Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW has enabled the state to move forward in its agenda to enact smart policies to make the air cleaner and safer.

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced the agreement on Thursday and spoke about the state’s plan to encourage other states, and even the federal government, to join them.

“California, a coalition of states, and these automakers are leading the way on smart policies that make the air cleaner and safer for us all. I now call on the rest of the auto industry to join us, and for the Trump administration to adopt this pragmatic compromise instead of pursuing its regressive rule change. It’s the right thing for our economy, our people and our planet.”

The White House has previously claimed that the federal government should be the only power able to effect new policies on car emissions, stating specifically that “the federal government, not a single state, should set this standard. We are moving forward to finalize a rule for the benefit of all Americans,” per BBC.

The California agreement proposes slightly more lenient laws than those made by the Obama administration, and the state hopes that in doing so, the federal government will be more inclined to adopt them as well. As the state accounting for 12 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales, the new deal would allow carmakers to act under one set of rules nationwide, if recognized by the federal government.

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Manufacturers have stated that the terms of the new deal will provide regulatory stability, preserve vehicle affordability for customers, reduce compliance costs and result in increased environmental benefits.

One of the main changes proposed in the deal is that all manufacturers will improve fuel efficiency, with new models forced to meet a minimum standard of 50 miles per gallon, up from the current 37 miles per gallon. Increased fuel efficiency would result in cars burning less gas and therefore releasing fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

California has also proposed requiring manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles and switch from gas-based vehicles.