Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the New York Times, Myron Ebell convinced President Trump to override the concerns of automakers worried about fragmentation of vehicle emissions standards.
Climate Change Denialists Dubbed Auto Makers the ‘Opposition’ in Fight Over Trump’s Emissions Rollback
By Hiroko Tabuchi
July 2, 2019
In the early months of the Trump administration, automakers pleaded for — and appeared set to receive — some relief from fuel economy standards that they said were too difficult to meet.
But newly released government emails show how a coalition of groups that reject established climate science quickly muscled into the picture, urging the administration to go much further and roll back the rules entirely and characterizing the automakers as their opponents in achieving that goal.
“The automakers are not going to help and may be part of the opposition,” wrote Myron Ebell, a senior figure at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank in Washington that disputes that climate change is a problem, in a May 2018 email sent to supporters and an official at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Last month, 17 automakers asked Mr. Trump to soften his approach, saying his plan threatened to hurt their profits and produce “untenable” instability given that California and 13 other states, as well as Canada, are expected to stick with the stricter standards — raising the specter of a national auto market split in two, and a nasty legal battle.
The Auto Alliance, which represents some of the country’s largest automakers, declined to comment.
…Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/02/climate/climate-deniers-auto-emissions-rollback.html
New York Times tries hard to paint Myron Ebell as the bad guy, but they fail to ask one very important question.
Why would multiple auto emissions standards be such a problem? Why not simply comply with the strongest standard, and satisfy everyone’s automobile emission rules?
The reason is, vehicles which satisfy California’s rules would fail to sell in regions not covered by such strict emissions standards.
A significant number of buyers don’t want vehicles which save every last teaspoon of gasoline, they want automobiles which are comfortable, which can haul a load, pull a caravan or boat, which can handle tough terrain, which have the bulk and strength to keep passengers safe in the event of an accident.
People want automobiles which are useful.
This fragmentation of standards is a headache for large manufacturers, who have to satisfy all the different standards and choices, but an opportunity for smaller regional manufacturers, and an opportunity for ordinary consumers.
By criticising Myron Ebell, New York Times is effectively siding with lazy corporatists who want to use government fiat to constrain the choices of US consumers, to protect their profits at the expense of the consumer choices and quality of life of ordinary Americans.