Energy & Environment

Five automakers back California authority to set stricter vehicle emissions standards

A group of five automakers is backing California’s authority to set its own standards for climate-warming emissions for vehicles amid a legal challenge from several Republican-led states. 

Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Honda and Volvo on Tuesday backed the Biden administration’s decision to restore this authority to California after the Trump administration revoked it in 2019. 

California’s emissions standards are often adopted by other, usually Democrat-led, states that hope to go beyond federal requirements and shift their markets toward more electric vehicles. 

In their motion to intervene, the automakers argue that under a deal they struck with California, they will adhere to state standards regardless of whether the standards are in place, but their competitors may not. 

They argue that requiring all automakers that sell vehicles in the state to abide by the standard makes the situation more equal. 

“While the Automobile Manufacturers are committed to the stringent Framework standards even if the Waiver Decision is vacated, their competitors are not, and the Automobile Manufacturers thus have a significant interest in ensuring that California’s regulatory authority applies to all automakers to enable a level playing field,” they wrote.

Last month, 17 states with Republican attorneys general sued the Environmental Protection Agency after it reinstated a waiver enabling California to set its own standards. 

The GOP has argued that it’s unfair to give this authority to just one state. The Biden administration has said that restoring it will help advance clean energy technology and reduce air pollution.

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