Trump fumes over California emissions deal

California announced a deal with four automakers Wednesday that would defy the Trump administration’s plan to ease tailpipe emissions standards and increase vehicle fuel efficiency. In response, the president vented his frustration on Twitter.

Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW signed on to the voluntary agreement with California, but the deal will have nationwide impact as the four automakers account for 30 percent of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. annually. The pact lays out the goal of an average vehicle fuel economy of 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

Trump had sought to roll back higher fuel efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency during Barack Obama’s presidency, freezing them at 37 miles per gallon.

Greenhouse gasses, such as the exhaust emitted from cars that run on gasoline, is a leading cause of climate change. According to the EPA’s own website, “the transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to anthropogenic U.S. green house gas emissions.”

Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax,” disputes that raising fuel efficiency standards will greatly effect the environment.

The increased mileage requirements, to an average of about 54 miles per gallon, would have saved about a half million barrels of oil a day and the equivalent (over the rest of the century) to four years’ worth of carbon emissions from the entire U.S. transportation sector.

The calculated impact on global climate change, however, would be a small fraction of a degree.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted the president’s attempts to head off a deal with the most populous state in the United States.

“This was a big blow to the Trump administration, what we were able to accomplish, and I don’t think they saw it coming,” Newsom told reporters Tuesday. “This idea that they’re helping the automobile manufacturers, that’s just been blown up, a complete myth. It was made up.”

California governor Gavin Newsom through the years
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California governor Gavin Newsom through the years
Gavin Newsome, San Francisco City Supervisor at the Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, California (Photo by Arun Nevader/WireImage)
Giants Owner Peter Magowan, Giants Ace Barry Zito, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Giants legend Willie Mays and Executive VP of Business for Major League Baseball Tim Brosnan pose for a photo at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday April 18, 2007, after a press conference detailing the events that will take place during the weeklong celebration of the 2007 Allstar Game in July.(Nick Lammers/The Oakland Tribune)(Digital First Media Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 10: San Francisco Mayor-elect Gavin Newsom waves to supporters as he walks through Chinatown the day after he was elected to office December 10, 2003 in San Francisco, California. Newsom defeated Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez in a run-off election to replace outgoing mayor Willie Brown. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 21, 2005: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his sister Hilary Newsom, in a promotional portrait for the Search for the Cause campaign, which raises funds for cancer research. Hilary is wearing a Search for the Cause dogtag. (Photo: Caroline Schiff/Getty Images) ***Local caption***Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom (center) and models during San Francisco Fashion Week 2005 - Gavin Newsom Backstage for Mel Rose at Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California, United States. (Photo by Arun Nevader/WireImage)
SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) New York Governor George Pataki, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom arrive at the site where Schwarzenegger will sign the landmark legislation bill AB-32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 September 27, 2006 on Treasure Island in San Francisco, California. Schwarzenegger was joined by New York Governor George Pataki, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair via satellite along with other international leaders with a consistent record of addressing the global threat of climate change and other environmental and industry leaders. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 11: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom walks to the stage at the closing ceremonies after the USA defeated the International Team 19.5 to 14.5 to win The Presidents Cup at Harding Park Golf Course on October 11, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets California Attorney General Kamala Harris (L) and Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California, after arriving on Air Force One at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, February 17, 2011. Obama is traveling on a two-day trip to the West Coast, where he will meet with technology business leaders in California and tour an Intel plant in Oregon. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 30: California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom appears at the Gay Pride Parade on June 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Arun Nevader/FilmMagic)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Parkside Hall in San Jose, California on May 26, 2016 (Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C) looks on with Governor of California Jerry Brown (R) and Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, as they view damage from wildfires in Paradise, California on November 17, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in California to meet with officials, victims and the "unbelievably brave" firefighters there, as more than 1,000 people remain listed as missing in the worst-ever wildfire to hit the US state. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
En esta fotografía del 23 de julio de 2019 se muestra al gobernador de California Gavin Newsom durante una conferencia de prensa en Sacramento, California. (AP Foto/Rich Pedroncelli)

Far more cars are sold in California than in any other U.S. state, giving it outsized leverage with the auto industry. The deal with the four automakers means that the companies will move to build a fleet of cars and trucks nationwide that adhere to the mileage goals.

Still, the Trump administration sought to paint the agreement as little more than symbolic.

“This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers,” EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said.

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