Will Detroit Surrender on MPGs?
In this morning’s column, Detroit News scribe Daniel Howes’ pointed out that “Road for Autos Runs Through Oval Office.” In other words, GM, Chrysler and perhaps Ford’s fate now rests in the hands of the President of the United States. True dat. Piper. Tune calling. Gold. Rule making. Etc. But Danny wasn’t making the expected plea for Barack’s administration to keep Motown’s hometown heroes out of bankruptcy court until, well, whenever. Oh no, there’s another battle brewing… “President Barack Obama is poised to face an automotive conundrum potentially pitting him, the Detroit auto industry and the more immediate needs of the beleaguered national economy against pressure from environmentalists, fuel economy zealots and the powerful California delegation, including the two members of Congress who escorted him to his inauguration.” Translation: Danny’s signaling Detroit’s “need” to resist state-based hoikment of fleet-wide federal fuel economy standards. In this, he’s not alone…
First, Danny’t take:
“California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzennegger, is urging Obama to make good on a campaign promise and grant his state and 13 others Environmental Protection Agency waivers that would allow them to regulate their own greenhouse gases. (Cha-ching!) And stiffer federal fuel economy rules are ready to become law.”
Cha-ching? Is Howes suggesting that CA’s desire to impose tougher emissions standards than Uncle Sam is somehow financially motivated? How does that work? And what about this leap?
“Fellow Democrats already have used auto bridge loan hearings to make clear their quid pro quo expectations — in exchange for federal loans, the automakers should essentially hybridize their U.S. fleets. (Irrespective of cost, market demand and oil prices, apparently.)”
It would be easy enough to dismiss Howes’ paranoia as, uh, paranoia. But just because he thinks Congress has plans on altering Detroit’s model mix to satisfy their political agenda doesn’t mean Congress doesn’t have plans to alter Detroit’s model mix to satisfy their political agenda.
According to Automotive News [sub], it’s a point that’s not lost on the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Although GM and Chrysler are staying stum on California’s desire to pre-empt federal mpg standards, NADA ain’t.
“It makes no sense for the federal government to aid the auto industry with one hand and then burden it with a duplicative rule that regulates fuel economy completely differently than the federal government,” claims David Regan, NADA’s vice president for legislative affairs.
Since when does any of this makes sense?
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