GM No Longer Fighting California’s Emissions Laws

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General Motors is withdrawing its support to the Trump administration, which is currently pushing California and 12 other states to adopt less stringent fuel-efficiency standards from 2022 to 2025. The decision suggests that GM is optimistic President-elect Joe Biden will have a different stance on emissions regulations once he begins his term in January.

“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,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a letter addressed to environmental groups. “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.”

Asked about GM’s recent announcement, EPA says it is “interesting” to see the automaker changing its stance. Biden, meanwhile, expressed delight, saying it is “encouraging to hear” that the manufacturer is open to working with the new administration.

joe biden speaking behind a podium
President-elect Joe Biden said it is “encouraging to hear” GM is open to working with the new administration.

Biden, in a statement, said: “Perhaps most importantly, GM’s choice to work with the Biden-Harris administration and California to advance these goals demonstrates a promising path forward for how industry, labor, government, and environmental organizations can come together to tackle big problems and make vital progress on behalf of the American people.”

GM’s rival Ford, which had supported the state of California from the start, also commented on the former’s decision.

“I applaud GM for reversing course on this critical issue. I’m also proud that Bill Ford and Ford stood tall for environmental progress from the start. Principle over politics,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said on Twitter.

The issue started due to differences between the EPA and the state of California regarding emissions standards. California has long been known to impose strict emissions regulations but had maintained its policies to be in line with the EPA’s rules until the end of the Obama administration.

The Trump administration, however, made moves to revoke California’s ability to set its own standards, resulting in a number of automakers supporting California and others backing Trump’s less stringent regulations.

Prior to GM’s change of heart, it joined Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, and Hyundai in expressing support for the Trump administration. Those on the side of California and stricter emissions regulations, meanwhile, include Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen.

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