GM and Other Automakers Lobby for One National Fuel Economy Standard
GM has recently added its name to a letter provided by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers addressed to President Trump. The document calls for one national standard for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. This would provide certainty and streamline product planning for the auto industry. 17 other automakers, including Ford, have also signed the letter.
Seeking a middle ground
Establishing these new national standards would involve a compromise between Trump’s proposed roll-back of the Obama-era fuel economy standards and the industry’s ambitious zero-emission goals. According to The Detroit Free Press, if the government’s proposed freeze of the nation’s fuel economy standards becomes a reality, the standards will remain at 2020 levels through 2026. Under Obama, the administration’s goal was to achieve a 54.5 mpg average fuel economy rating across all vehicles by 2025.
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Per The Detroit Free Press, GM released an official statement supporting the objectives outlined in the letter. “We continue to prioritize the need for one national program and remain hopeful that the parties can find a solution to achieve this goal.” GM also articulated that having one national standard for fuel economy and emissions aligns with the company’s zero-emission future goals, such as its goal of having 20 zero-emission models on the international market by 2023.
Concerns and challenges
If Trump does impose a federal freeze, it could infringe on states’ rights — particularly when it comes to California’s rights, since it currently determines its own emissions and fuel economy standards. Automakers are concerned about the potential litigation battles between the government and states. This would slow, and potentially impede, their future plans for releasing more eco-friendly vehicles in the near future.
However, if the letter does have a positive impact, the government still has a chance to establish a more middle-ground policy when it comes to fuel economy and emissions standards — one that would benefit automakers while still giving states some freedom to institute stricter standards within their respective boundaries.
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