Gas War: Ford Urges Other Automakers to Join the Californian Coalition

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The Ford Motor Company is asking automakers to join it in supporting Californian vehicle emissions targets aimed at supplanting the rollback that was supposed to become the national standard. General Motors has already abandoned its support of the Trump rollbacks, which offered concessions to appease environmental groups but ultimately targeted more lax fueling regulation while seeking to eliminate California’s ability to self regulate as a way to curb its influence. But industry leaders are under the impression that a President Biden would attempt to swiftly transmission back to Obama-era regulatory targets or simply adopt the California model that’s been at odds with the national standards established by the Trump administration.

Considering how aggressive the Biden-Harris energy/environmentalism platform is, it certainly seems a plausible scenario and certain automotive executives feel that it would be best to go into 2021 aligned and supportive. The matter is even scheduled to be brought forward during Tuesday’s virtual auto trade association meeting.

This presumes that the election won’t be overturned and everything goes as predicted by the mainstream media. That means a President-elect Biden with electors going largely unswayed by the evidence presented by concerned citizens, poll watchers, statistical analysts, and Trump’s legal team over the next two weeks. But, according to Reuters, Ford has already prognosticated a Biden administration and has seen the writing on the wall based on the people he’s selecting for his team, vocal commitment to rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, praise of Cash for Clunkers, and previous statements made about the need to end fracking — and likely the United States’ short-lived energy independence.

From Reuters:

In a previously unreported letter, Ford Americas President Kumar Galhotra on Wednesday said with Biden’s win, the fight over Trump’s effort to preempt California on vehicle emissions “is now, at least for the next set of years, essentially moot. The more relevant issue is thus the question of the standards.”

Galhotra urged automakers “to actively consider embracing the California framework.”

He added: “The Biden Administration will not let the Trump standards stand, and either by way of litigation and/or a regulatory reboot, the new team will move in a different, more stringent direction.”

Plenty of Biden’s platforms mimic California’s regulatory norms — especially in regard to issues like the economy, gun control, energy, and transportation. So it’s not unreasonable to assume his administration might pursue fueling targets that closely match those desired by the Golden State. But we’ve discussed this ad nauseam and won’t bore you with anything more than a few links back to the relevant articles.

The important thing to remember is that Democrat leadership in the executive branch will undoubtedly pursue much stricter emission standards and Ford is asking everyone to get on board ahead of time. It joined with BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen Group in July of 2019 in a voluntary agreement to adhere to Californian emission limits rather than whatever the (then undecided) national standard would be through 2026. Other automakers stayed silent or backed the Trump administration in embracing less stringent standards that provided them greater flexibility in the types of automobiles they could manufacture and sell.

Last month, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols had also said the state’s emissions agreement with automakers could serve as a “good template” for federal standards. Reuters noted that Ford recently suggested the same, adding that Tom Carper of Delaware — the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee — said “the rest of the automakers should end their challenges to state authority and embrace the California framework as the first step in setting standards that get us to where we need to be.”

As of now, we’ve not been informed which part of Los Angeles they’ll be relocating the United States Capitol. But we’ll keep you posted as it continues becoming the nexus of decision making in America.

[Image: Siripatv/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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14 of 46 comments
  • Ect Ect on Dec 01, 2020

    "the evidence presented by concerned citizens, poll watchers, statistical analysts, and Trump’s legal team over the next two weeks"? The Trump lawyers have not presented any evidence of voter fraud so far, Matt, what makes you think that will change during the next 2 weeks? To date, they've been summarily tossed out of court in at least 38 cases. That's an impressive record - of losing.

    • See 6 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Dec 03, 2020

      @285exp - The Washington Post when assessed by neutral media watchdogs rates them as "leaning left". When the same group rates their accuracy, they are rated "High". This is from "AllSides" site. It is valuable to know how a news outlet sits on the political spectrum. News outlets that are centrist or slightly left or right of centre tend to be much more accurate in their reporting than outlets that are far right or far left. Accuracy is also importand and again more "centrist" news outlets tend to be more accurate. One also needs to filter out the opinion side from the news side. A good case in point is Fox News versus Fox opinion. Reports from Neil Cavuto or Chris Wallace are factual whereas Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity tend to be fantastical.

  • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Dec 02, 2020

    Many hated Trump so much so they voted for Biden (and essentially Harris) and will take into account an increase of energy prices? Sounds like Europeans - always voting for the political parties which screw them over and over again.

    • See 4 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 05, 2020

      @Inside Looking Out Update - 12/5/20 - It's official: https://tinyurl.com/y367jm7o

  • Lorenzo 1 million barrels is 42 million gallons. The country uses 368 million gallons a DAY. The reserve was set aside after Hurricane Sandy caused a gasoline shortage for emergency vehicles. The hurricane season starts on June 1 and is predicted to be active. Nice going.
  • Chuck Norton Toolguy- I have. It's hard on the knees...
  • EBFlex Welp the corpse is at it again. They think they can buy votes by selling off from the SPR. The best thing they could do to get votes is close the border and start deporting people. That would guarantee them a win in November. As of right now though, they are not doing that and Trump is rising in the polls every day.
  • Jalop1991 What is this "dealer" thing Ford speaks of?
  • Picard234 So this release amounts to 2.7 hours of gasoline consumption in the US. You won't even see a penny. The administration is draining the reserves for political optics, nothing more.
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