Last week General Motors officially proposed a far-reaching “zero emissions mandate” that would essentially force the market into electric vehicles through a system of industry credits enforced by a sort of “Zero Emissions Task Force.” Simultaneously, General Motors has filed to have fuel-efficiency standards based on “historic rates” rather than either Obama era rules or the Trump administration proposal that would freeze requirements, according to a Reuters report.
The impression is that GM is now playing both sides of the field.
Moreover, the filing states that the Obama-era rules that aimed to hike fleet-wide fuel efficiency to more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 are “not technologically feasible or economically practicable,” yet based on their zero emissions mandate proposal, an all electric vehicle future is somehow an easier target. This is despite evidence that “affordable” electric vehicles make little to no profit, and are largely unattainable for entry-level consumers, based on MSRP. Hence the $7,500 in total available federal tax credits put into place by the Obama Administration.
To that end, General Motors has been lobbying Congress to lift the existing cap on electric vehicles eligible for that tax credit. Currently, the credit phases out over a 12-month period after an individual automaker hits 200,000 electric vehicles sold, which the automaker is getting close to breaching. The first-generation Chevrolet Volt was the first GM product eligible for these tax credits when it went on sale in 2010.
As far as historic rates are concerned, General Motors claims that corporate average fuel economy has increased on average of one percent per year, according to the filing. To compare, the Obama-era rules, effective in 2021, call for an annual increase of 4.4 percent in fuel-efficiency requirements from 2022 through 2025.
The Trump Administration proposal freezes standards at 2020 levels through 2026 and is estimated to save the industry in collective regulatory costs by more than $300 billion. It would also stop states like California from requiring automakers to sell a rising number of electric vehicles or setting emissions rules from state to state, which has been criticized as a violation of state’s rights.