California supports White House mileage plan for 2017-25
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
WASHINGTON — California state regulators who have locked horns with automakers in the past will support the White House's plan to raise corporate average fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year.
"California is very supportive of where the talks are landing," California Air Resources Board spokesman Stanley Young said. "We anticipate that the agreement will provide strong standards that benefit the nation and also recognize and build on California's leadership role in air quality and climate protection."
Most automakers have decided to endorse the White House plan, which is to be announced by President Barack Obama tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. EDT. Some German automakers still are considering whether to sign on or not.
While agreeing to the White House program, California still plans to go ahead with its own plan to increase sales of alternative-fuel vehicles.
The state's zero emission vehicle program, if adopted this year, would require automakers to meet sharply higher requirements for sales of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Starting in model year 2018, sales of alternative-fuel vehicles would have to account for 5.5 percent of all new-car sales in California. By model year 2025, this portion would rise to 14 percent.
Nine other states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland, also follow California's ZEV rules.
Automakers have pushed unsuccessfully for California to abandon its ZEV plan. They are in continuing talks with California regulators in an attempt to gain concessions on details of the program.
California is a party to the CAFE talks between the Obama administration and automakers because under the Clean Air Act, states have a choice of adhering either to U.S. or California emission standards.
Under the White House plan, cars would have to meet mpg requirements that increase at a rate of 5 percent a year from the 2017 model year to the 2025 model year.
Light trucks and most SUVs and crossovers initially would have to meet a less stringent requirement of 3.5 percent annual increases from the 2017 model year to the 2021 model year. This rate would rise to 5 percent from the 2022 model year through the 2025 model year.
Some environmentalists that originally pushed for adoption of a 62 mpg standard by 2025 today endorsed the White House plan.
"This is the single biggest step the president can take to lower drivers' gas bills and cut heat-trapping pollution at the same time," said Roland Hwang, transportation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Consumer advocates also embraced the new requirements.
Mark Cooper, the Consumer Federation of America's Research Director, said, "Hard, good faith bargaining has produced a program that is very good for consumers and the auto industry."