As EPA prepares to roll back emission standards for light-duty cars and trucks, the California Environmental Protection Agency, Ford, Honda, BMW of North America, and Volkswagen Group of America have agreed on a voluntary framework to reduce emissions. The four automotive companies, representing about 30% of the U.S. auto market, agreed to improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 3.7% each year reaching 50 mpg per gallon on average by 2026. This agreement is slightly less stringent than the Obama-era standards, which would have required automakers to improve fuel economy by about 5% each year and reach 54.5 mpg in laboratory conditions by 2026.
EPA and Department of Transportation in 2018 proposed to roll back the Obama-era fuel standards through the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks Proposed Rule. This proposed rule would relax the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy and Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards. The plan lays out a no-action scenario and eight alternatives, expressing a preference to lock in model year 2020 standards through 2026. The proposed rule would also withdraw the Clean Air Act waiver of preemption granted to California to exceed federal standards.
In September 2017, ECOS passed Resolution 10-7: In Support of State Discretion to Regulate Pollutants within State Borders, the Retention of the Clean Air Act Waiver of California Emissions Standards, and the State Adoption of California Standards, calling on Congress to preserve California’s authority. Specifically, ECOS “urges the U.S. Congress to retain and not limit: 1) any state’s authority to adopt or enforce pollutant standards that are more stringent than the federal standards; 2) California’s authority to adopt or enforce emissions standards for any air pollutant from any mobile source; and 3) any state’s ability under Clean Air Act section 177 to adopt California’s vehicle emissions standards.” To date, 14 other states and Washington, DC have adopted California standards.