Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Carmakers have urged the White House to cooperate with California over US vehicle emissions standards.
‘Climate Change Is Real,’ Carmakers Tell White House in Letter
By Ryan Beene
22 May 2018, 07:37 GMT+10
Automakers urged the White House to cooperate with California officials in a coming rewrite of vehicle efficiency standards, saying “climate change is real.”
The plea came in a May 3 letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s leading trade group. It said carmakers “strongly support” continued alignment between federal mileage standards and those set by California. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG and nine other carmakers are members of the Alliance.
“Automakers remain committed to increasing fuel efficiency requirements, which yield everyday fuel savings for consumers while also reducing emissions — because climate change is real and we have a continuing role in reducing greenhouse gases and improving fuel efficiency,” David Schwietert, executive vice president of federal government relations at the Alliance, wrote in the letter, which was made public Monday.
“Operating under two or three sets of regulations would be inefficient and disrupt a period of rapid innovation in the auto industry,” Schwietert wrote, adding that fractured rules could have negative consequences for the roughly 7 million people employed directly or indirectly by the American auto industry.
The Auto Alliance site is down, so I have not been able to locate a copy of the letter.
The obvious question, if auto manufacturers want uniformity, why not build automobiles which comply with stringent Californian standards, regardless of national standards? Surely vehicles built to stricter Californian standards would also satisfy more relaxed national standards?
I suspect the answer is many car buyers would not choose of their free will to buy the kind of automobiles Californian standards will demand. Without President Trump’s backing for national standards which satisfy Californian lawmakers, auto makers will be forced to build vehicles for Californians which satisfy their ridiculous fuel economy standards, and build real automobiles for everyone else – or lose business to competitors.
California compliant national rules for auto manufacturers would be great news for the manufacturers – not so great for everyone else.