California and four of the world's biggest automakers entered into a pact, vowing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles that goes beyond the guidelines set by the Trump Administration.
Thursday's announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom is meant to be a compromise between Obama-era emissions standards and the more lax ones set forth by the Trump Administration. However, while environmentalists call this a win that could save you money, energy companies and Republicans are calling it a political move.
In a phone conference Thursday, Gov. Newsom said, "This country is moving in this direction. The vast majority of Governors, Democrat and many Republican, as well, get it and they want to see this kind of optimization."
The companies siding with California include BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen which make up 30 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. They've agreed to boost the fuel-economy standards of new cars to 50 miles a gallon by 2026 while President Trump has proposed freezing standards at 27 miles a gallon by 2020.
These numbers are a compromise, according to Dan Kammen, professor of energy at UC Berkeley and former climate advisor for the Obama Administration.
"They said we will back off a little bit on our annual improvement numbers and give an opportunity to the U.S. EPA to get on board with us."
He believes that in the long run, California's plan will benefit consumers.
"If anything, it'll have the effect of depressing gas prices because over time we'll see more and more auto manufacturers taking on electrical vehicle targets."
Members of the Republican Party, alongside Big Energy, have been quick to fire back.
Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance provided this statement to ABC7 News, saying in part:
"These four auto companies are in denial of the fact that California is no longer in charge of this program. The only thing they have accomplished is sticking their finger in President Trump's eye."
John Dennis, chairman of San Francisco Republican Party, says "Our policies have worked over the years, but this is all about politics. Gavin Newsom showing he can stand up to Donald Trump".
The Trump Administration is expected to prevent California from setting it's own emissions standards while it's widely believed New York will be the next state to join in with similar emissions standards.
Bucking President Trump's plan, 4 automakers side with California on emissions standards