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California reaches agreement with Stellantis to reduce GHG emissions

25 March 2024

The California Air Resources Board and Stellantis announced a partnership March 19 to further the automaker’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions from new light-duty vehicles and commitment to zero-emissions technology, including through investments in charging infrastructure.

This action is related to the rollback of federal light-duty GHG emission standards by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2020, which CARB never permitted in California emission regulations.

Under the settlement agreement, Stellantis will contribute to save more than 10 million additional metric tons of GHG emissions beyond compliance with existing standards through the 2026 model year. Furthermore, Stellantis will comply with California’s zero-emissions light-duty vehicle sales requirements through 2030 even if CARB is unable to enforce its standards because of judicial or federal action. The automaker will extend its educational programs specific to zero-emissions vehicles as well as invest $4 million in California to deploy public charging infrastructure in places such as tribal areas and in federal, state, and county parks, plus an additional $6 million in other states that have adopted California’s greenhouse gas emissions standards for these model years.

Stellantis also commits to not oppose California’s authority under the Clean Air Act for its greenhouse gas emissions and zero-emissions vehicle standards.

In return, CARB commits to exercise its enforcement discretion by accepting Stellantis’ compliance with the agreement as a compliance plan for the California light-duty GHG standards for MYs 2021 through 2026.

In the event CARB cannot implement or enforce its 2022 ACC II ZEV Program because of judicial or federal action, CARB also commits to accept compliance with the agreement as satisfying the ZEV Program for Model Year 2026 through Model Year 2030.

Stellantis and CARB seek to avoid litigation relating to compliance with the California light-duty vehicle GHG standards and claims Stellantis maintains it could bring against CARB relating to CARB’s authority to enforce these GHG standards. Also, in light of ongoing and pending litigation over the restoration of CARB’s waiver in 2022, as well as potential further federal regulatory actions, Stellantis seeks additional certainty regarding the GHG standards that will be enforced in California for MYs 2021–2026.

During the term of the agreement, CARB will not enforce the light-duty vehicle GHG standards or, if required, the 2022 ACC II ZEV Program against Stellantis using available enforcement mechanisms. Instead, CARB will enforce compliance with these programs under the terms of the agreement.

In September 2019, US EPA finalized an action purporting to revoke California’s waiver for the California’s light-duty GHG standards and in April 2020, the EPA finalized its rollback of federal GHG standards. CARB had already amended their light-duty vehicle GHG standards in September 2018 to clarify that “deemed to comply” was never meant to permit federal rollbacks to weaken standards in California. When the relaxed federal regulations were promulgated in April 2020, compliance with the revised federal program was no longer deemed as compliance with the California light-duty GHG standards.

Source: CARB