General Motors signed onto a letter along with 17 other automakers the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers represents that calls on the Trump administration to implement a national fuel economy standard, The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.
The uncertainty in fuel economy and emissions regulations comes after the Trump administration proposed a freeze to rising fuel economy standards. The original standards, imposed under the Obama administration, called for a 54.5 mpg average by 2025. The proposed freeze would leave fuel economy requirements at 41.4 mpg for cars and 31.3 mpg for light trucks, or 2020 levels on the Obama-era plan.
Critics have long argued the Obama-era regulations are out of touch with today’s market conditions, which has seen trucks and SUVs surge in popularity.
However, automakers themselves have said the proposed freeze goes too far. Worse, it could create years of litigation between states and the federal government. Any lawsuits would create major uncertainty for automakers in the regulatory environment, which may derail plans already in place.
Specifically, the issue revolves around California’s Air Resources Board, or CARB. The state has long held a waiver to set its own emissions and fuel economy standards, which more than a dozen other states now follow. Should the Trump administration impose its federal freeze, it would infringe on California’s state rights, or so the state would argue in court.
GM and the other automakers urged the administration to find common ground to implement one national fuel economy to streamline product planning and provide certainty. California’s standards often churn out “compliance cars” since the state implements a zero-emissions vehicle mandate. In layman’s terms, automakers must sell a certain number of zero-emission cars to do business in the state.
GM’s signing of the letter also follows news that numerous large investors have urged the automaker to do more about emissions and fuel economy.
Source: The Detroit Free Press