Earlier today, General Motors announced it is withdrawing its support for the Trump administration’s legal fight to overturn California emissions standards. GM also announced its intentions to work with the incoming Biden administration, the state of California, and the broader auto industry to set a clear path forward that aligns with GM’s push to an all-electric future.
“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “We are confident that the Biden administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future. To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”
Last year, General Motors joined Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and several other automakers in backing the Trump administration following a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Defense Fund that challenged plans to roll back fuel economy standards, curb the more stringent California emissions standards, and set a single, nationwide set of standards.
At the time, Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen sided with California, agreeing with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to enact stricter fleet-wide fuel economy standards by 2026, countering the Trump administration’s plans to freeze the regulations.
In addition to being the most populous state in the U.S., California also accounts for roughly 12 percent of the U.S. auto market. California, as well as 22 other states, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration back in September claiming that the federal government did not have the authority to revoke a waiver that enables a state to set its own emissions and fuel economy standards.
Although president-elect Biden has not yet detailed how he’ll modify federal regulations or if they will coincide with the stricter California emissions standards, he has indicated that his administration will prioritize electric vehicles and clean energy as a means to address climate change.