Automakers Already Sucking Up To Trump On Emissions Rules

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Originally published on Gas2

Well, that didn’t take long. The carcass of the Obama Administration is not even cold yet and already the American car companies have caved completed to the megalomaniac in chief in order to fatten their bottom lines. Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler are more than happy to sacrifice our children and grandchildren on the altar of greed just so long as they can continue making fat profits on the largest,  most wasteful offerings in their lineups. They have already started bleating about how unfair current and proposed EPA emissions standards are.


The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — afront for the Big 2.5 — has already fired off a letter to Trump’s White House transition team  proposing that the new administration take a fresh look at the EPA’s proposed fuel economy standards. The companies whine that the rules are too burdensome, too expensive, too complex, and too difficult for the car companies to implement. It wants a pause in fuel economy and greenhouse rules until the new administration can “lead efforts” with regulators and automakers on “a pathway forward” for the final four years of the rules.

The letter says the rules — which become more stringent starting with model year 2017 — are a “substantial challenge” for the industry. Overall, car makers say they support greater efficiency and higher environmental goals; they just need more time. Horse puckey. The industry simply wants to do what is known in regulatory and legislative circles as “slow walking” the transition to higher standards. What difference could it possibly make if the rules went into full force and effect in 2035 or 2050 instead of now?

The industry is already counting the profits it can expect to make by selling more large pickup trucks and SUVs. CNN reports that GM announced the day after the election that it will layoff 2000 workers in early 2017 so it can reconfigure two factories so they can switch to building trucks and SUVs — the two vehicles with the fattest, juiciest profit margins of all. What does the timing of that announcement tell you?

The car companies are sure to get their wish. The Donald has already announced his intention to name Myron Ebell to head the EPA. Ebell is leading climate change denier who says, “Climate change is nothing to worry about.” Republicans in Congress are eager to start dismantling most of the climate protection initiatives put in place by the current administration, regulations they say are strangling business.

Another part of this push by car companies is a plea to the new administration to force California and the other states who follow its emissions regulations to roll back their zero emissions mandates. The theory may be that what California is doing places an impermissible burden on interstate commerce, something forbidded by the commerce clause of the Constitution. Once the Trumpster gets his wish and installs one of his ultraconservative choices on the Supreme Court, that argument might find a warm welcome among the four sitting conservative justices who oppose virtually everything the federal goverment tries to do, like the good Federalist Society stooges they are.

How ironic that the car companies, especially General Motors and Chrysler — both of whom were saved from bankruptcy by Obama — have taken out their long knives to stab Obama in the back at the earliest possible opportunity. The current administration used the promise of public funds to get them both to agree to a tightening of fuel economy and emissions rules. They happily took the government handout but now want to renege on their promises. How quickly these corporate weasels forget.

The car companies will win, no question about that. But this may be a Pyrrhic victory. The rest of the world — especially China — has no intention of relaxing emissions rules. The Big 2.5 can build all the massive polluters they want, just as long as they understand they can only sell them in the US. Be careful what you wish for, Detroit. You just might get it.

Source: Automotive News

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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