California seeks to double down on emissions standards, as the federal government proposes a freeze on fuel economy improvements past 2020.
On Wednesday, officials from the Trump administration and the California Air Resources Board met to resolve conflict over the administration’s efforts to freeze national vehicle emissions standards. Under the Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles rule, the federal government would cap fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) sharply denounced the proposal, aiming to maintain stricter standards set by the Obama administration.
While the atmosphere leading up to the meeting has been tense, officials stated they agreed to hold future meetings, according to a Reuters report. CARB’s director, Mary Nichols, told Reuters in August that she saw a chance to make a deal sometime this fall.
Automakers want less stringent economy standards as consumers move toward bigger cars that burn more fuel. However, they also have to bend to California’s standards, as the state represents one of the largest automotive markets. Tension between the state and the federal government could spell uncertainty for automakers in the long-term.
Companies are concerned they may have to end up building two different sorts of cars: one to meet California’s standards – also followed to some degree by a dozen other states – and another for the rest of the country.