Two more automakers are in talks with state officials about potentially joining California’s emissions plan, Governor Gavin Newsom said this week. Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda reached a voluntary agreement with the California Air Resources Board in late July, defying the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back fuel efficiency standards.
One of the companies weighing whether to join is Mercedes-Benz and the other remains unnamed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“This was a big blow to the Trump administration that we were able to accomplish, and I don’t think they saw it coming,” Newsom said Tuesday after delivering a speech at an environmental summit, the Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff reported.
Last month a senior Trump adviser invited Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors to the White House for a meeting and urged them to stay with the president’s plan, which would freeze fuel standards at 37 miles per gallon, according to New York Times journalists Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi.
California’s voluntary agreement doesn’t go as far as the Obama-era plan to raise gas mileage standards to 47 miles per gallon by 2025, but it’s more stringent than the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze the standard next year. Under the California agreement, automakers commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their cars by almost 4% annually for five years, Koseff explained.
“About a quarter of that mandate could be offset by credits for adopting cleaner technologies in the vehicle design, such as improved internal temperature controls, and by selling more electric or hybrid cars,” he wrote.
Two people familiar with Mercedes-Benz’s plans told the Times reporters that the automaker is preparing to join the California agreement. Another automaker, one of the three invited to the White House in July, is contemplating staying with current stricter standards for the next four years, the journalists added.
“Together, the six manufacturers who so far plan not to adhere to the new Trump rules account for more than 40% of all cars sold in the United States,” the Times journalists wrote.