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California finalizes fuel efficiency agreements with five automakers

20 August 2020

California has finalized fuel efficiency agreements—based upon the framework unveiled last year—with five automakers.

Under individual, bilateral agreements with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo agreed to annual fuel economy improvements that are closer to those required under the Obama administration 2012 CAFE/GHG rule compared with the relaxed requirements finalized by the EPA in March 2020.

The relaxed 2020 CAFE/GHG rule would require automakers to produce a fleet averaging 40 mpg by 2026 instead of the 2012 requirement under the Obama administration to reach 55 mpg by 2025. Under the new agreements finalized by CARB, automakers are to reach a fleet average of 51 mpg by 2026. (The above fuel economy ratings are CAFE figures, they are different from EPA sticker values or real life fuel economy.)

In addition, each of the automakers has made individual commitments to expedite the transition to zero-emission vehicles. These agreements are memorialized in a separate appendix for each company, and are designated as Confidential Business Information because they relate to specific model production plans and similar matters, said CARB.

The CARB agreements represent a challenge to the Trump administration, which has withdrawn the CAA preemption waiver for California GHG and ZEV programs. The EPA also warned California the agreements with automakers may be “inconsistent with federal law”.

Source: CARB