Carmakers On Clean Air: “No, Obama had it Right”

July 25, 2019

Not even the Republican’s most reliable clients are going along with the rape of clean air and climate regulation.

Washington Post:

Four automakers from three continents have struck a deal with California to produce more fuel-efficient cars for their U.S. fleets in coming years, undercutting one of the Trump administration’s most aggressive climate policy rollbacks.

The compromise between the California Air Resources Board and Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America came after weeks of secret negotiations and could shape future U.S. vehicle production, even as White House officials aim to relax gas mileage standards for the nation’s cars, pickup trucks and SUVs.

Mary D. Nichols, California’s top air pollution regulator, said in an interview Wednesday that she sees the agreement as a potential “olive branch” to the Trump administration and hopes it joins the deal, which she said gives automakers flexibility in meeting emissions goals without the “massive backsliding” contained in the White House’s current proposal.

“What we have here is a statement of principles, intended to reach out to the federal government to move them off the track that they seem to be on, and on to a more constructive track,” Nichols said, adding that the companies approached California officials last month about a potential compromise.

In a joint statement, the four companies said their decision to hash out a deal with California was driven by a need for predictability, as well as a desire to reduce compliance costs, keep vehicles affordable for customers and be good environmental stewards.

“These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” the group said.

The White House argues that more lenient standards would lower the sticker price of vehicles and encourage Americans to buy newer, safer cars. But California has vowed to enforce stricter requirements to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and the auto industry itself has implored the Trump administration to try to find common ground with California.

One Response to “Carmakers On Clean Air: “No, Obama had it Right””

  1. jimbills Says:

    That’s fine. Everything I’ve read about it, though, indicated the car companies were worried about being stuck between conflicting Californian and national standards, and that they made the decision that wouldn’t threaten profits. The environmental aspects are a side benefit – good for marketing.

    We have a long way to go to catch up internationally:

    Not to mention that more vehicles (i.e. necessary growth for car companies) can offset gains in efficiency in terms of total emissions.

    And, just like the 90s, when gas prices plummeted and consumers moved to SUVs, we’ve gone back to light trucks and SUVs in the current gas glut:

    ‘The numbers released Tuesday continued to reflect a trend seen in recent years — not only in California but across the country — of consumers buying fewer cars and more pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. Car registrations in the second quarter were down 10.1% across the state while vehicles in the light truck category were up 5.6% in the figures compiled by IHS Markit.

    That was reflected in Los Angeles and Orange counties, where more trucks were sold through the first six months of 2018 (174,847, up 7.5% from the same period a year earlier) than cars (166,391, down 11.1%). Overall vehicle sales fell 2.5% in the region.

    In the first half of this year, new light truck sales exceeded car registrations in California, 54.1% to 45.9%. Nationally, light truck sales were up 7.7% and passenger car sales fell 12.1% in the second quarter.

    “Consumers generally buy the largest vehicle they can afford,” Maas said.’

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