Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Carmakers Want To Ignore the California Market

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Is it any wonder the American car industry (at least the “Big 3)  finds itself on the brink of collapse?  Their executives have made bad business decisions for decades, after which the American government has been forced to step in and help them clean up their mess.  American auto corporations want to continue their failed business models — this time by arguing to the EPA that a weak, national greenhouse gas standard needs to be implemented instead of having California and 13 other states implement standards that are more stringent.  It is foolhardy to try to dictate the world’s 7th largest economy what they can and cannot implement.  Especially in a country that supposedly values the ability of states to implement policies that are more stringent than those at the national level.  Especially when those same auto corporations have no problems meeting foreign countries’ standards regarding vehicle safety and performance.

Their argument that having more than one regulation to follow is too onerous is pathetic.  The market is speaking: Californians are pressuring their elected officials to introduce policies to keep themselves healthier and safer.  If the auto corporations can’t meet those standards, they won’t be able to sell anything in California eventually.  It’s their decision.  Californians shouldn’t be forced to accept a dirtier and more dangerous environment just because some executives and shareholders are greedy.  Either the market is “free” as many pro-corporatists like to argue or it isn’t.

A simple solution would be to manufacture vehicles that met California’s standards, since they would be more stringent.  Then they wouldn’t be kept out of any market.  But the standards aren’t the real issue here – profit is.  Manufacturers want to hoard profit again (if they ever get profitable).  They’ll do what they’ve done in the past 50 years: fight every regulation and policy that takes a penny away from them.  Unless it’s nationalized health care.  They’ll fight that even though it’s absolutely killing their bottom line.  Like I asked above: is it any wonder the industry is on the brink of collapse?  Either today’s manufacturers get their act together and meet today’s market requirements or they fail and tomorrow’s manufacturers will do it for them.

Kudos to President Obama for asking the EPA to look at the California GHG regulations again.  It wasn’t done appropriately under the Bush “administration”.  It will be done so now.

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