GM Switches Sides in the Gas War, Joins California/Biden
General Motors has changed its mind on backing the Trump administration’s effort to supplant Obama-era emission regulations with something more manageable and prohibit California from setting its own emissions rules. Of course, the coastal rules aren’t really just for California — it desperately wants to export them to the rest of the country and has made rather incredible headway for not being the federal government. The coastal region has already convinced over 20 states to follow in its footsteps and even amassed support from auto manufacturers like BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen Group.
Other automakers, including General Motors, felt the Trump plan would give them more flexibility and undoubtedly make them less subject to government fines. However, with a Biden presidency assured without Trump and Co. having an extremely powerful voter fraud case, GM has become a turncoat. On Monday, CEO Mary Barra issued a letter to environmental groups stating that her company is “immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”
GM now wants to work with Joe Biden — probably because the company understands his administration is going to be regulating the snot out of the nation.
President Trump has repeatedly warned that such moves would give an advantage to China, which doesn’t have to make any changes under the Paris Agreement until 2030. He did so again at this week’s G-20 summit, stating that the U.S. was already making the most headway toward becoming carbon neutral of any nation. “[The Paris Climate Agreement is] not designed to save the environment,” he said. “It was designed to kill the American economy.”
Either way, Biden is taking an incredibly different approach and has seen corporate interests line up behind him in a manner Trump could only have dreamed of. Last week, GM even increased spending on EVs and autonomous vehicles by 35 percent from its previously announced plans. We’re guessing that had something to do with the media reporting that the Biden-Harris ticket would be cashed in for 2021.
According to Reuters, Barra said she believes “the ambitious electrification goals of the president-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned, to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions.”
Toyota said in a statement Monday that the company has “long supported year-over-year improvements in fuel economy standards” that provide climate and national energy security benefits but it had backed the Trump administration plan “knowing there was a preponderance of other automakers” aligned.
“Given the changing circumstances, we are assessing the situation, but remain committed to our goal of a consistent, unitary set of fuel economy standards applicable in all 50 states,” the company said.
While other automakers backing the Trump plan have remained silent so far, Democrat leadership and environmental activists had been howling that the United States must modernize to remain competitive. They claim the Trump rollbacks have no place in an America that’s striving to become more like its neighbors.
The Trump administration finalized a rollback of fuel efficiency standards in March, adding a concession increasing annual efficiency rates by 1.5 percent through 2026. But it’s far below the 5 percent yearly jumps the Obama administration rules mandated, even if experts have suggested such increases would be untenable. While we cannot say what’s to become of Trump’s fuel rules under a Biden presidency, we don’t foresee them lasting.
[Image: Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock]
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