The Canadian government’s decision to align its future fuel economy standards with that of California could threaten the success of the auto industry in the country, experts warn.
David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada coalition, expressed concern about the memorandum of understanding the government signed with California in a recent interview with Automotive News Canada. The memorandum loosely explains how Canada and California would work together to implement regulations that will reduce green house gas emissions and promote the use of green vehicles and does not contain any official proposals or commitments.
“In our view it’s premature to be saying this is the road we’re going to go down without understanding all the consequences and costs of going down that road,” Adams said. “It would have been our preference that Canada work with the U.S. and California to come up with a single, integrated system of standards.”
But Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna believes signing the memorandum could drive investment in Canada and help position it as a clean energy leader.
“We can build the vehicles of the future here at home, create good jobs, and remain competitive, all the while reducing pollution and helping Canadians save hundreds of dollars a year at the pump,” the Liberal MP said.
The Trump Administration may roll back current US fuel economy standards, proposing a freeze of mileage standards at about 37 miles per gallon for cars – down from the current target of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This has prompted California to go its own way, with the state vowing to implement its own future fuel economy targets.
While many in the auto industry agree the stricter fuel economy standards would have been both costly and difficult to meet, major automakers also said a split in US emissions standards would cause “untenable” instability in the manufacturing sector. Canada climbing on board only complicates things further for the auto industry and both respective countries.
California leads a coalition of 17 states in a federal court suit to overturn the EPA’s plan to freeze mileage standards. On the other side of the aisle, the Trump Administration is looking to revoke states’ ability to create their own set of emissions standards. If two standards are implemented, automakers may have to follow the Californian regulations, as adhering to two different rule sets could be too costly.
Source: Automotive News Canada