Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda have made a deal with California to build more fuel-efficient vehicles while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The crux of the deal has these four automakers agreeing to a fleet average of 50 mpg for light-duty vehicles by the 2026 model year. This is slightly lower and slightly longer than the fuel economy standards set by the Obama administration back in 2012. However, it’s considerably more aggressive than the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze standards at current levels, which would see fleet averages of 37 mpg through 2026.
Motor1.com has confirmed that the deal is in place. In a joint statement, the four automakers said:
"Ensuring that America’s vehicles are efficient, safe and affordable is a priority for us all. A 50-state solution has always been our preferred path forward and we understand that any deal involves compromise. These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions."
In an email to Motor1.com, Honda has this to say about the deal.
"Honda, along with other automakers, proposed terms to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for regulating light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and CARB has accepted those terms. The proposed regulatory framework results in a simple, national GHG program and avoids the patchwork of overlapping federal and state regulations that exists now. The framework provides regulatory stability, greater environmental benefits, and reduced compliance costs. As a leader in producing efficient, low and zero-emission vehicles, Honda believes this is a win for our customers and for the environment."
Aside from fuel mileage standards, the deal will revise greenhouse gas standards starting with the 2022 model year through the 2026 model year, with an increasing year-over-year stringency rate of 3.7 percent. In the statement, the automakers further say the deal will promote zero-emission technology and increase innovation, while also recognizing California’s authority to establish emission and fuel economy standards for the state.
The Trump administration is currently looking to strip California of its right to establish mileage and emission standards independent of federal law. Curiously, last year the Trump administration claimed lower fuel economy standards would save lives because people would drive less, since they would have to pay more for fuel. Later in 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a 500-page report that basically confirmed climate change was happening and it’s too late to stop it, so stringent emission and fuel economy standards were pointless.