The NY Times is reporting that President Obama will announce new emissions standards tomorrow that are aimed at ending the discrepancy between Californian and national emissions standards. The federal effort will combine California’s emissions standards with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, creating a unified national benchmark. This will force OEMs to clean up emissions by 30 percent by 2016, while preventing California from moving the goalposts again, say industry officials. The upshot? By 2016 car offerings must average 42mpg while trucks will face a 26.2mpg average requirement.
“By 2016, the stringency of the national standard will be the same as the (California standard),” a Democratic congressional aide tells the Detroit Free Press. “Before 2016, the requirements in California and at the national level will be different. The automakers were already planning to be in compliance with the California standard in 2014 and 2015, so the difference between the two standards is only important in the early years.” Emissions guidelines have already been written for 2011, so it appears likely that national standards will start ramping up in 2012.
And the OEMs are in no mood to fight the future. In fact, according to the NYT, this announcement may have been pushed up to provide some certainty for the bankrupt (and those who are about to be). Reportedly Detroit was willing to play ball as long as it received certainty on a timetable and a single national standard. Better the devil you know . . . .